Solomons Seal ID and propagation

esox07March 20, 2012

I have a question for all the Solomons Seal experts. This plant has been growing every year in my back yard since we moved in. This summer will be the 5th. It is a lone plant and grew in the same spot every year. Is this Solomons Seal? If so, everyone talks like it is very prolific, yet, mine has yet to propagate.

Last fall, I finally dug up the Rhyzome (root) and divided it into three pieces and replanted them in the same general area. I also picked a bunch of the berries and extracted the seeds, dried them and spread them out in a nearby location and worked them into the soil. We have sandy soil. I am hoping I didn't kill the one plant by trying to divide the rhyzome and I hope that I get two or three out of the process. I also hope that some of the seeds take and start totally new ones.

I also took some of the seeds and placed them in some soil and then inside a zip loc bag and then in the frig over winter. I took the bag out of the frig a couple weeks ago and left it sit until a couple days ago. I opened it and sure enough, there were several sprouts with roots snaking through the soil. I carefully tried to take the seedlings and put them in some fresher soil and bigger container. I am hoping they continue to progress and eventually pop some seedlings through the soil surface. Later this spring or summer, I can then transplant them.

Here is some photos of my plant from last year before I dug up the rhyzome and harvested it's seeds. Is this indeed Solomon's seal and why hasn't it propogated on it's own?

Thanks your your time and opinions,


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey bruce ...

you are working awful hard on what i call my native SS ...

in my hosta beds.. they self seed.. and ramble around the area ... its that easy ...

so the easiest thing i might suggest that you get rid of the grass.. and make a bed of compost around that tree ... and let it do its own thing .... including simply letting it seed itself ...

i dont know if any of that is expert advice .. just what happens in my hosta beds ...

its native habitat is under the trees, in the forest, in full shade ... and under tress in the forest the soil ... is light leaf mold.. and that is what you should shoot for ... you can tell .. by looking at yours ... its an old grass patch.. which is not fluffy or 'light' .. and that might be why it wont self seed ...


ps: i also have a cool 12 inch dwarf that is going on a 6 foot wide area .. and a variegated one ... so if you make the bed .. there are others you could collect ...

Here is a link that might be useful: flip to the SEARCH side for info

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Ken: thanks for the advice. However, that grass is so sparse that I dont think it would hinder anything. I won't mow it all year. It comes up like you see it and by mid june it will be basically dead/dormant or "brown". Crab Grass doesn't even grow there. The soil all over here is quite sandy and the spot the plant is in was natively wooded by mostly oak and some pine. So there is quite a bit of leaf material in the soil. But for what you said, I should spread compost around the area and that should help it naturally seed it self? What kind of compost. i dont have any of my own compost around.

If you look just behind that tree in the first photo, you will see the area I planted the seeds in. It is a mostly bare patch of ground about 4 foot square. I just hope something comes up this year.

Oh, and is that "True Solomons Seal" or one of the false varieties?


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 5:34PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Oh, and is that "True Solomons Seal" or one of the false varieties?


you are missing my point...

the soil under that tree is hard pan former sod/grass.. the small seeds may never hit the soil surface ..

a light weight compost.. will allow proper seating of the seed on the soil.... and MIGHT aid in natural propagation ..

and will also help with some water retention.. as that soil in your pic is most likely bone dry all the time ...

good luck


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:56PM
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yes, the soil is pretty dry most of the summer. Especially since it is so sandy.

What should i use for "compost"? Is there some thing I can buy at the garden center like manure?

Also, do you know if it is "True" or false Solomons seal?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:05PM
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I am growing Polygonatum odoratum 'Solomons seal' which multiplies by under ground stolons. I think it would grow in the location you have yours, it does for me. I have some growing within 3 feet of the trunk of a fifty year old Deodar Cedar. Al

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:07PM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

I don't know anything about Solomon's Seal but from looking on the net I think that you have one. The false Solomon's seal flowers on the end of the stem and has reddish berries. Your plant has been flowering up and down the stem because the berries are there. Other look-a-likes are more upright.
As for munch, use anything you have. I lasagna compost any area of my garden I want to improve. I take kitchen vegetables, coffee grounds, egg shells and fruit peels throw it on the ground and cover with leaves. Lawn clippings mixed with something brown to keep them airy will work. A bag of soil conditioner from a big box store. Rake your lawn in fall and pile leaves under the tree. Mulch needs a little moisture to break down and become good plant food. Don't bury the stem of the plant in mulch. This is how we all have become gardeners, an idea and a well to execute it.

Here is a link that might be useful: The false one

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Yes, it does look like I have true solomons seal. As for the compost, if I start throwing table scraps out around my SS plant, I will have every dog in the neighborhood hanging around. I will probably just throw a few bags of store bought compost and manure around the area. I just hope something comes up this spring.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 5:51PM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

No you don't compost table scrapes, you compost fruit peels, bad lettuce and yellow broccoli. You are feeding the worms not the dogs. Table scrape would bring more than just dogs. Amending soil is ongoing and should be cheap.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 1:33AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

esox07 - sounds like you need to get on over to the Soil, Compost and Mulch Forum fast. Your concept of compost needs work.;-).

When you asked about this plant last year we said it was a Polygonatum ie Solomon's Seal. False S S would be Maianthemum racemosum and as peggiewho says it has a different flowering habit.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 3:11PM
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