Once again, I am delighted to learn of the latest – 2013 – selection of “Perennial Plant of the Year” by the Perennial Plant Association: Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ (Variegated Solomon’s Seal). This outstanding plant has been one of my all-time favorite perennials mainly because of its stunning foliage, habit, and vitality that add color and spark to the shady woodland garden.
Solomon’s Seal stands 2 ½ to 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide. It spreads by rhizomes and will over time form a nice dramatic mass. Its firm upright stature will hold its own to grace the bottom of a fence or shrub border. While it is known as an outstanding foliage plant, it does produce delicate rows of small pendant white flowers beneath its leaves in late spring to early summer. The variegated leaves – white margins – make the plant a nice contrast to many other green-leaved perennials. It also produces blue-black berries in the autumn, and as an added bonus, the leaves turn a brilliant yellow in autumn. While the plant tolerates sun, it thrives in shade and dry soil. It will grace woodland, wild, and natural gardens. It is a costly plant, but a few plants will spread quickly to form a nice grouping.
Each year, the Perennial Plant Association names an outstanding plant its “Perennial Plant of the Year” to showcase a perennial that is a “standout among its competitors.” These chosen plants are “suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest, and are relatively pest/disease free.”