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When less is more

Subtle Solomon’s Seal adds great beauty

When selecting plants for my garden, I don’t always pick plants that have big showy or colorful flowers. To me, simple green leaves can be beautiful, and on some plants it’s all they need. One of my favorites is Solomon’s Seal. Technically it can have green, blue-green, or variegated leaves.

Solomon’s Seal is a perennial plant that grows best in shade and is tolerant of heavy shade. It is known for liking moist soil, but I have a successful planting of Great Solomon’s Seal in a shady but dry location. I planted mine in a spot that is easy for me to water when it gets dry in the summer.

One reason I like this plant so much is because of its distinct architectural shape. Long graceful shoots rise out of the ground with a gentle arch. Its clean and distinctly alternate leaves are perfectly placed all along the stem. This makes it the perfect choice for a contemporary garden, but it will colonize so it is just at home in a cottage or natural garden. Depending on variety, it can grow anywhere from 1 to 5 feet tall.

In late spring to early summer another beautiful thing happens: dainty, white bell-shaped flowers emerge and hang from each leaf node. This adds to its architectural beauty but you will have to look close or you may miss them.

Solomon’s Seal is a great choice for the garden. Though easy to grow with very few pest problems, it often gets overlooked in garden centers because it lacks the flash of a big bright flower. However, once you grow it and see how beautiful it can be, you won’t be able to imagine your garden without it.

SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.

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