In the last two weeks besides being asked what to do about Japanese beetles I am getting bombarded with questions about what to plant in the shade besides hosta. True enough there are only so many different types of green hosta that you can plant in the shade and this is where Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum ‘Variegatum’) comes to the rescue.
Solomon’s seal is a rhizomatous perennial that belongs in the asparagus family with many being native to the region. I consider this plant a triple threat. It is tolerant to dry shade, full sun, and wet soils. What more could you ask for in a perennial? It is a creeper so it will spread with maturity but it will not take over the garden. Reaching about 18″ tall this variegated form offers spring blooms that are attractive to many native pollinators and give away to hanging grape-like fruit .
The only downside to this plant is hot summers. This is Nebraska after all and it could get some scorch with excessive heat. Also, many herbalist use this plant for remedies and if not properly prepared it could cause some abdominal discomfort so we would suggest not consuming it.
If you are looking for something different than a fern or a hosta for shade or need something for your rain garden check out the fragrant Solomon’s seal – you might be pleasantly surprised.