When planning a garden, a gardener always considers which shade-tolerant plants to plant under the trees. Near trunk circles of fruit trees are usually mulched to reduce moisture evaporation from the soil. The rest of the earth under the trees’ crown remains as a blank brown spot. This is neither aesthetic nor practical.
1. It’s not aesthetic because a garden that has no plants under the trees, doesn’t convey a very cheerful mood.
2. It’s not practical to leave the soil empty under the trees’ crowns because it gets colonized by weeds, which are brought by the wind little by little. That’s why additional work is needed to rid of the weeds in the garden. Besides, under the influence of the rain or wind, the soil becomes denser and the access of air to the tree roots is decreased.
That’s why it would be advantageous to plant such shade-tolerant plants which would bloom in the shadow and brighten up the garden when covering the soil with their unusual leaves. Some plants are not just shade-tolerant, but consume only a small amount of water, and yet there are others who love well-moistened soils.
Solomon's seal is one of the good shade-tolerant plants for growing in the garden. Its botanical name is Polygonatum. They are also called seal of Solomon. They can grow successfully even in the shadow of walnut trees. In a sunny place, seal of Solomon grows poorly and almost doesn’t bloom.
Seal of Solomon normally grows in the wood shadow. You can come across various kinds with different leaves which are for sale.
Seal of Solomon is a perennial rhizome plant. It is propagated by the rhizome division. The height of green branches reach 3 ft. Depending on the kind, there are wide, linear, elliptical leaves with stripes of different colors. The flowers gather into long tube-shaped clusters.
Solomon’s seal blooms with white, pink or orange flowers. Blossoming lasts from May until June. Berries ripen in the fall. They may be dark blue or red. Many kinds of Solomon’s seal have pleasant fragrance. In the fall, the above-ground sprouts die off and a mark of the rhizome remains, which is the reason for the plant’s name seal of Solomon. The rhizome is preserved during winter. A renewal bud and additional roots of new stems are attached to it. The rhizome is the organ of nutrition accumulation.
Seal of Solomon has many forms which differ in appearance
Polygonatum cyrtonema is a gigantic seal of Solomon, growing up to 4 ft. White flowers between the leaves on the tall stems appear in May. There are so many of them, that the quantity may reach 100 per a stem. The bush is large. In the fall, black berries appear in the place of the flowers. These plants may be grown in zones 6-9. Another kind of Solomon's seal is Polygonatum falcatum. The type called 'Silver Lining' differs from others due to its leaves with white and silver stripes, which are slightly tilted. The plant’s height is 8-20-32in. Solomon’s seal blooms at end of spring.It prefers shadow and can grow in semi-shade. It’s a hardier plant. It can grow in zones 6-9.
Polygonatum kingianum is a plant completely different from a usual Solomon’s seal. The flowers of Solomon’s seal are of bright orange and may be red.
Sometimes they are affected by blue mold on the rhizome when being replanted.
There’s a type of seal of Solomon which is very small The height of Polygonatum biflorum Dwarf Form reaches 14-18 in. The leaves of the seal of Solomon Dwarf Form are similar to the leaves of the lily of the valley. White flowers grow on the stem out of the leaf sinuses. This seal of Solomon also has pleasant fragrance. The plant’s origin is North America. There are more diminutive kinds of seal of Solomon.
Polygonatum graminifolium. This is a small seal of Solomon, not more than 8 in tall. The bush’s width is 4 in. This is a delicate shade-resistant plant with thin stems and tender narrow leaves blooming with pink flowers. In the autumn, the bush becomes covered with red berries.
Seal of Solomon Polygonatum odoratum Dai koga, which inhabits is the island Hokkaido in Japan, grows with plural yellow-greenish oval leaves. The leaf’s mount is green, and the remaining part is a tender yellow color. Young leaves are greener in color. This is a slow-growing plant. It acquires an original color within a year after planting.
Planting and care
Seal of Solomon can be grown on loamy and sandy-loam soils. It grows better and blossoms more abundantly in fertile soils. Solomon’s seal propagates poorly with seeds. It’s better to spread Solomon’s seal by rhizome division. This is done in early autumn or spring. Before planting, put crushed rocks or perlite for drainage at the bottom of a shallow hole and then mix soil mixed with compost or peat. Put the rhizome seal of Solomon into the hole. There must be at least 1 bud on the rhizome for growth. Cover with soil and water. Seal of Solomon doesn’t require complicated care. A youngseal of Solomon is watered regularly. Many kinds of seal of Solomon are quite drought-resistant. During a period of long lack of rain, they must be watered. Seal of Solomon is rarely affected by diseases or pests. They prevent weed reproduction very well. This is one of the beneficial shade-tolerant plants that you can easily maintain in your garden.