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How to Grow and Use Solomon's Seal

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 and 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 and take advantage of its many uses.

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 long time. We went out to my front yard, and she was 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.

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.

False Solomon's Seal berries.

False Solomon's Seal berries.

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.

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 many issues 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.

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 3,500 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 a 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.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you need to plant the rhizomes or will they spread on their own like pine cone ginger?

Answer: They do spread on their own. We have the wild ones and they’re all over the place.

Question: Can Solomon's Seal be grown in an apartment?

Answer: Yes. It does not need a lot of sun so it is possible. I have not tried it myself but you have given me an idea.

Question: Can you use Solomon’s Seal in soaps and lotions?

Answer: Yes, Solomon Seal’s oil and tincture have been used to heal since the time of King Solomon

© 2018 Mary Norton

Comments

Sp Greaney from Ireland on July 26, 2020:

I've never heard of Solomon's Seal before but the next time that I'm in the garden centre I'm going to look for it. I like how it requires little care.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 15, 2020:

Bev, I wish I know, but I am not a herbalist. I will ask around as I am also interested.

Bev Dale on July 13, 2020:

hi I have been interested in solomons seal for years , and it has been hard to find in nurseries and plant stores , finally found some small varagated ones this year , i live in british columbia , found lots of false solomon in the bush , but no luck yet with the real thing, im interested in using it for tendons and ligaments, im thinking a tendon in my neck wich runs down my right side has a built up calcium issue , because it is to tight, and wont loosen up no matter what i try and it can be quite bothersome . I am thinking 1 cup of the tea per day , might be enough , what are you thuoghts on this , is that enough or should it be 2

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2020:

Thank you for this added information. They grow wild here in Canada, at least, 200 km. from Toronto

Béatrice on June 06, 2020:

Solomon seal is used by the Chinese and the Korean in their traditional medicine for centuries. They dry the rhizomes grind it and make a herbal tea. I got a box of tea bags from a friend, all written only in Korean , but the photo of the plant was on it and the only English word was the name of the factory ! Through this I search in google I found all the varieties they are producing ( also very tasty coffee in tiny bags) and the box I have was there with explanation that it is tea made from solomon seal .... from the look of it I thought it was a rhizome of ginger first but the tea was very flat in flavor.. why the name of solomon seal ?

It’s because when they cut the flower from the rhizome, the cut dry and have the form of solomon seal which is 2 triangles standing opposite one to the other : which is the star of David on the Israeli flag. Hope this revelation will not stop some of you to still grow this plant. Its native from the north emisphere so surely you can see it in England, I have seen it in the french forest when I lived in france but was told it was poisonous.. in fact only the berries of blue colour are poisonous. Now living in australia its not growing here.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 31, 2019:

My Solomon's Seals are wild but you can get them, too, in the garden centres. Thank you for the visit.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on August 30, 2019:

Wow! This might be the answer to my planting challenges. Everything I have planted in the shady area along my woods has disappeared - bleeding hearts, spiderwort - gone.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 22, 2019:

Thanks Denise. You have enough beauty in your art.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 21, 2019:

That was great information, Mary. Thanks for all the research. I don't think I have any Solomon's Seal around here in California and since I'm in an apartment now, I can't grow any myself. Too bad too, because it sounds really healthful. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings,

Denise

Asad Dillz Khan from United Kingdom on June 24, 2019:

You're Welcome!

Asad Dillz Khan from United Kingdom on June 23, 2019:

You're Welcome!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 23, 2019:

Thank you Asad.

Asad Dillz Khan from United Kingdom on June 21, 2019:

A great and informative article about Solomon's seal! Really impressive job! Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of information Mary! Excellent Work!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 24, 2019:

They do and they spread as fast as lilies of the valley. They used to belong to the same family of lilies but lately, botanists moved the Solomon's seals to the asparagus family.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 24, 2019:

Thanks for introducing me to a plant of which I was unfamiliar. Those flowers do somewhat resemble lily of the valley. The fact that the roots are edible is interesting.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 09, 2018:

Yes, it is deer resistant. Thanks for the mention.

Robert Sacchi on December 08, 2018:

I am glad I read this article. I will have to mention this plant is deer resistant. Thank you for posting.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 16, 2018:

Thanks, Nithya. Solomon's Seal has beautiful foliage and does not need much care.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 16, 2018:

The Solomon Seal seems to be a great plant with beautiful blooms. It is a low-maintenance plant. The True Solomon's seal is a great choice for a garden, thank you for sharing.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 15, 2018:

Thanks Nell. I hope it does grow in your area.

Nell Rose from England on November 15, 2018:

What a great name for a plant! I came back because my brother is planning on seeing if it grows over here. he is a plant fanatic, me on the other hand, well....LOL!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 22, 2018:

Thank you so much. You can check in the nursery around you.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 22, 2018:

What an intetesting plant. I wonder if they will adapt to Florida's climate. This is something I would enjoy having in my yard. Thank you for stopping. Angels are on the way this morning. ps

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 05, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 05, 2018:

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

Devika Primic on October 04, 2018:

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

Devika Primic on October 03, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 01, 2018:

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

Mary Wickison from Brazil on September 30, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 27, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 27, 2018:

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.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on September 26, 2018:

@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.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 26, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 26, 2018:

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

Nell Rose from England on September 25, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2018:

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 from LOS ANGELES on September 25, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2018:

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

Liz Westwood from UK on September 24, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 24, 2018:

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

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on September 23, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 21, 2018:

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

Krzysztof Willman from Parlin, New Jersey on September 21, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 17, 2018:

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

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on September 16, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 16, 2018:

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.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on September 15, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2018:

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

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on September 15, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2018:

Good to be able to do that.

Li-Jen Hew on September 15, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2018:

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 on September 15, 2018:

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.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 14, 2018:

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.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 14, 2018:

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!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2018:

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.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2018:

Thank you Zulma. Am glad you liked your visit.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2018:

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.

Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on September 14, 2018:

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

Bede from Minnesota on September 14, 2018:

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.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 14, 2018:

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 from london on September 14, 2018:

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.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on September 14, 2018:

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

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 14, 2018:

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!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2018:

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

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 14, 2018:

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

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 14, 2018:

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 from USA on September 13, 2018:

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.