How to Grow and Use Solomon's Seal

Updated on September 19, 2018
aesta1 profile image

We live in Canada's cottage country where we enjoy nature and our many wild friends.

Solomon's Seal is a hardy perennial that provides exquisite blooms and pretty berries. This article will show you how to grow it, as well as how to take advantage of its many uses.
Solomon's Seal is a hardy perennial that provides exquisite blooms and pretty berries. This article will show you how to grow it, as well as how to take advantage of its many uses. | Source

Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum) is a hardy perennial native to Asia, Europe and North America that derived its name from the scars left when its stems fall back, which resemble two interlocking triangles—the symbol you see in the seal of King Solomon. It grows best in shade, is deer resistant, and thrives in USDA zones 3–9. It was also named Perennial Plant of the Year in 2013 by the Perennial Plant Association.

The plant was nowhere near my gardening vocabulary until I was visited by a friend who has lived in my area for a time long. We went out to my front yard, and she was so astonished to see our Solomon's Seal loaded with berries. This plant has been in the woods around us for as long as I can remember, and there were times in the past when the grandkids were still very young that I wanted to pull the plant out. I feared that the grandkids would eat its berries, and I didn't have any clue whether they were poisonous or not.

The moment our friend left, I opened my computer to know more about this elegant and graceful plant in our woods. Ever since then, I've been enthralled with this wonderful plant and am thrilled at the opportunity to help other gardeners grow this exciting perennial.

A close-up of true Solomon's Seal blooms.
A close-up of true Solomon's Seal blooms. | Source

True vs. False Solomon's Seals

One interesting thing about Solomon's Seal is that there are both "true" and "false" versions. The plant was formerly known to be part of the lily family, and you can see its close resemblance to Lily-of-the-Valley. The true varieties, however, were later moved to the Asparagaceae family.

True Solomon's Seals include the variegated and green varieties. Most reach as high as 1 or 2 feet, but some varieties grow as high as 5 feet. In May and June, their exquisite, white, bell-shaped flowers tipped with green or yellow appear dangling on arching stems. In the late summer, these flowers turn into bluish-black berries. And in autumn, the graceful, arching leaves turn to golden yellow.

False versions of the plant have similar ribbed, arching leaves, but they blossom in a cluster at the end of the stems. And their berries instead grow in ruby red colours.

True Solomon's Seal berries.
True Solomon's Seal berries. | Source
False Solomon's Seal berries.
False Solomon's Seal berries. | Source

How to Plant Solomon's Seal

Solomon's Seal grows wild in many places in North America. But if you want to plant some in your garden, it is better to leave the wild ones be and get healthy rhizomes from the garden nurseries or from your friends.

When you plant your rhizomes or seeds, choose shady and damp areas in your garden where the soil ranges from neutral to acidic. Give enough room for them to grow, as they multiply and spread well. You don't need to plant them too deep, however, as just 1 or 2 inches deep and about 2 to 3 inches apart should be fine.

You also don't have to worry about dividing them immediately, as it takes several years for them to establish themselves. Once they're established though, they can easily withstand a drought. I haven't done anything to the plants we have, and we've had them for years.

Here are three particular varieties to try in your garden (as suggested by The Spruce):

  • True Solomon’s Seal (P. biflorum): Very dependable and one of the fastest growing varieties.
  • Fragrant Solomon's Seal (P. odoratum "Variegatum"): Variegated form with white tips.
  • Fragrant Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum. biflorum var. commutatum): Grows to about 5 feet in height.

The wild ones growing in our garden can take some sun because the surrounding trees keep them cool. They are woodland plants, after all. In fact, when you're looking for the best place to plant your own, a woodland setting—together with some of your ferns, perhaps—would really make it display its beauty.

Wild Solomon's Seal.
Wild Solomon's Seal. | Source

How to Care for Solomon's Seal

These perennials are actually fairly easy to care for, as they are hardy and very adaptable. They primarily just need moist soil. As long as they have this, they'll multiply well by rhizomes that you can replant or share with your friends. You can also add leaf compost to simulate the woodland environment where it naturally grows.

At the beginning, you may want to water the newly buried rhizome to make sure the soil around it is always moist. Once it has established itself, it multiplies and spreads into a beautiful blanket of foliage with dangling flowers, an elegant addition to your garden. And even though they flower, these flowers fall off naturally. No need for deadheading, which can take up so much of your time.

Additionally, they seem not to have much issue with insects or diseases, so you can relax and not spend so much time caring for them. Slugs can occasionally be a problem in damp areas, but the plant is quite resistant.

A true Solomon's Seal in bloom.
A true Solomon's Seal in bloom. | Source

Uses and Side Effects of Solomon's Seal

Solomon's Seal is edible and its shoots can be eaten like asparagus. It can be dried and used for making tea. Its berries, however, are poisonous.

What Are Solomon's Seal's Medicinal Uses?

The plant can also be used as an herb in making medicines. In fact, it was used as early as 3500 years ago, traced to the reign of King Solomon, who proclaimed the plant to be a gift from God because of its many uses. Documented acknowledgement of this plant was recorded by Dioscoredis and Pliny in the first century. In Asia, it is considered one of the top 10 healing plants. The first nations in North America and the ancient Europeans also considered this herb of great value.

There have been various claims about Solomon's Seal and its assortment of medicinal and healing properties, which include (according to www.solomonsseal.net):

  • Aids in restoration of damaged cartilage and connecting tissue.
  • Aids in easing general inflammation.
  • Aids healing of bruises, wounds and skin irritations.
  • Hastens recovery from bone injuries (broken, stressed) and associated connective tissues.
  • Encourages the production of synovial fluid to reduce grinding in joints.
  • Addresses and aids restoration of too-tight or too-loose tendons, ligaments, joints and attachments associated with repetitive stress, injury and inflammation.
  • Soothes upset stomach.
  • Encourages loosening of mucous in lungs.
  • Improves women's reproductive health.

And for women who want to have beautiful complexion, the Solomon's Seal tea or its direct application on the skin can naturally repair bruises, acne, pimples and other blemishes. A knowledgeable traditional medicine expert can help, but just applying this on your own is not advisable. Though immediate use when you are in the woods and sustain bruises should be fine, long-term use may require your doctor's approval.

Note: There is not yet sufficient data on the plant's effectiveness in these areas, though it has been generating greater interest as of late. More studies are still needed, however, to substantiate these claims. Moreover, side effects include nausea, diarrhea and other stomach complaints.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Mary Norton

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        10 days ago from Ontario, Canada

        I am sorry Devika. I have not been the past two days as we had an emergency in the family. I do appreciate your comment and I often try to be here each day except the last two days.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        10 days ago from Ontario, Canada

        You are right Devika. Nature has so much to offer us.

      • profile image

        Devika Primic 

        11 days ago

        Interesting and well researched. I know did comment a while ago on this hub but don't se my comment here.

      • profile image

        Devika Primic 

        12 days ago

        This is unique. A beautiful plant and I have not heard of this plant. Nature has beauty and not always noticed.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thank you Mary. There are many plants known to locals and are used by them that we are not really aware of.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 

        2 weeks ago from Brazil

        I've never heard of it before reading this. I often wonder if I've seen many plants I've read about but wasn't taking notice of them.

        Although it's not grown in this area, I can relate to the potential benefits of many plants that are not generally known.

        Where I live, there are still many people with the knowledge of local plants and will often use those as opposed to visiting a doctor.

        I will mention this to my friends who live in the States.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Yes, it is God's gift just like many other plants.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Miekabagh, your comment is really a very useful additon to the uses of Solomon's Seal. The leaves of the wild false ones can serve to wrap food as well.

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        2 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        @Both Neil Rose & Mary Norton, thanks for sharing. I am taking a critical look at this plant again and again. As I pass by on the road just for strolling, I observed verities. So, I am trying to differentiate the true from the false by their fruits. Like as I had said in another comment, we use it to tire foods, vegetables, seeds, nuts and much more...I mean the true Solomon seal.

        So some farmers in my country plant them for economy purpose, selling them to food vendors. Thank you all, and have a nice time on HubPages.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks for doing the research and offering such an excellent presentation on Solomon's Seal. The wise man was right. "It is a gift from God." It is beautiful and useful.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        They grow wild around us as they are native in North America. I'm not sure about the UK.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        2 weeks ago from England

        Hi Mary, I had never heard of this plant before, fascinating stuff. I will show my brother he loves gardening!

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thank you Dana for reading my article. Solomon’s Seal has been around me for over 30 years and I only knew its name this year so it is not surprising that it’s new to you, too.

      • Dana Tate profile image

        Dana Tate 

        2 weeks ago from LOS ANGELES

        I never heard of this plant but the title "Solomon's Seal" truly caught my eye. Thank you for introducing me to something new. Great article.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        I am lucky that they grow wild in my area. Thanks Liz for your visit.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        3 weeks ago from UK

        I have never come across Solomon's Seal before. Your article is a very helpful guide for anyone who wants to grow it.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks Mel. I was glad to find out more about it.

      • Mel Carriere profile image

        Mel Carriere 

        3 weeks ago from San Diego California

        Great write up about this beautiful, useful, and historical plant.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Yes, it was also only recently when I knew about its uses though they had been around me all the time.

      • Chriswillman90 profile image

        Krzysztof Willman 

        3 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        Thank you for the information about this plant, very pleased to learn something I've never heard about. Enjoyed reading about the Solomon's Seal medicinal uses in particular, had no idea it could do so much.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        You, too. It is interesting to know more about your part of the world.

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hey, Mary, thanks for your useful comments. That is life at its best. Making adjustment for certain inconvenience. I expect to read another natures marvels from your pen. Have a nice time on HubPages.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        That is interesting Miebakagh. I can see how useful it is in wrapping especially because they spread fast with not much care. Yes, in the summer, we enjoy the lake and the woods but in the winter we have to go back to the city.

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hey, Mary Norton

        I envy you.

        You live friendly with nature, the wild is your friends!

        And while I live at the precinct of the waterfront.

        Thanks for the information, anyway. We in Nigeria make much use of the leaves by wrapping mashed foods in the leaves for steaming.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thank you Sean for sharing the spiritual with us and for your visit.

      • Sean Dragon profile image

        Ioannis Arvanitis 

        4 weeks ago from Greece, Almyros

        The greatness of a human seems in the way she or he approaches Nature. You, my dear Mary, wrote with Love and respect for this plant and I admire this! Thank you for sharing this Love.

        Admiration!

        Sean

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Good to be able to do that.

      • Li-Jen Hew profile image

        Li-Jen Hew 

        4 weeks ago

        Haha...glad to hear that, Mary. :) Your article also introduced something new to Heidi and John.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        As always, your imagination flies all over like true and false questions. That's why you write poetry so well. Ha, you caught my boedom with so much data. I always enjoy your comments.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        And to think I had this around me and I never even knew about it.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        The berries were the ones that attracted me to it but I never knew its name until our friend visited and told me about it.

      • Li-Jen Hew profile image

        Li-Jen Hew 

        4 weeks ago

        Hey Mary. Thanks for sharing as it does inspire one to get a Solomon's Seal. I like how the plant was named after King Solomon.That was deceiving, poisonous berries! Maybe a sign that says keep out of children's reach will help haha. True and False Solomon Seals..cool names. Imagine them being used in a true and false quiz. It's refreshing to see plants with fruits and glad you were able to take care of them over the years. You managed to include "not sufficient data" in a graceful manner and fits cozily in the article. Inspired to write maturely like how you handled the insufficiency.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for sharing information about this plant, Mary. I had never heard of it. I found it all very interesting especially its history and the interlocking triangle that appears where a leaf is missing resembling King Solomen's symbol on his seal.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        4 weeks ago from Chicago Area

        Even though we're in Zone 5, I don't think I've ever seen these in our Midwestern area. But at least I'll know what they are when I do! :) Thanks for sharing this bit of your local habitat with us. Happy Weekend!

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Eman, thank you for your visit. It's something I knew of only recently.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Lucky you. Can't really plant much around our cottage as there are many creatures who love to eat them.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        It truly is. Next time you visit our part of Canada, You must come here.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Manatita, that's what I heard that the berries are poisonous. I never heard of this plant's name before but in the past, my husband's mother used to tell us not to let the kids touch the berries.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thank you Zulma. Am glad you liked your visit.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Good Bill. There's something new I have shared with you. I only heard about it when my friend visited us and saw them around our cottage.

      • Emmy ali profile image

        Eman Abdallah Kamel 

        4 weeks ago from Egypt

        An educational article about Solomon's seal plant. Thank you, Mary.

      • Bede le Venerable profile image

        Bede 

        4 weeks ago from Minnesota

        I’ve never heard of this attractive plant. It’s good to know of its many healing properties. Don’t you wish those berries were edible? I have black currant bushes outside my door that produce tons of good berries. The dried leaves also have various healing properties.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks for sharing the interesting information about this plant, Mary. I enjoyed reading your article and looking at the photos. The area around your cottage sounds lovely.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        4 weeks ago from london

        An interesting discovery by your friend. Sometimes we don't know the treasures that we have.

        Glad you looked it up. Be careful with the berries though. A bit of an exciting research for you, I'm sure.

      • phoenix2327 profile image

        Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

        4 weeks ago from United Kingdom

        Fascinating hub, Mary. Thanks for sharing this with us.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        This is one of those days when it seems like every single hub I read has information I had no clue about. I have never heard of this plant, and I'm a gardener/farmer. Amazing!

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        That's too bad but you have other plants you can enjoy in your area.

      • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks Flourish. It's native to North America so you must have seen one.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Very cool Mary,

        I love learning about wild plants. You did so well here. Thank you much, I think we are to hot for them.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        4 weeks ago from USA

        This was lovely educational information about this native plant species. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it before but never heard the name or knew anything about it. I may have pulled it up not knowing. These days nothing gets pulled up. It’s too hot.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)