Giant Solomon's Seal, Great Solomon's Seal
Polygonatum commutatum

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Polygonatum (po-lig-oh-NAY-tum) (Info)
Species: commutatum (kom-yoo-TAH-tum) (Info)
Synonym:Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum

Category:

Perennials

Height:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Spacing:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Herbaceous

Smooth-Textured

Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Redding, Iowa

Lexington, Kentucky

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Piedmont, Missouri

Fargo, North Dakota

Salem, Oregon

Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Leesburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Clarkston, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

4
positives
1
neutral
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Jan 25, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This perennial does well where hostas do well. Like a hosta, it's a tough easy plant that will tolerate dry shade, but it performs best in soil that's moist but well drained.

All the stems arch the same way. The tall arching stems and the regularly alternating leaves give a clump an architectural quality that can help unify a woodland garden if the plant is repeated through the space.

This grows from a thick branched rhizome to form a slowly increasing clump. Its growth is in no way weedlike, and the rhizomes stay within a few inches of the surface. I've grown this in many gardens and have never had any difficulty digging it out. Most easily propagated by division of the rhizome in autumn.

There are several different forms differing in size. Siz... read more

Neutral

On May 18, 2012, laurel1949 from surrey, bc
Canada wrote:

I bought a home with lots of shade gardens. Solomon seal is lovely, but it is taking over the whole garden and is hard to dig out. I am having a hard time trying to thin it out. I live in Vancouver, B.C.

Positive

On Apr 16, 2012, FlyPoison from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

One of many wonderful native woodland plants that grow in the piedmont/mountains of the SE. I have several growing in my hardwood/mixed forest preserve and they seem to especially like growing near hardwoods. A very durable and drought resistant plant. I try to add a few more every year. The birds really dig the black berries they produce.

Positive

On May 24, 2011, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

My grandma has a bunch of these in the shady areas of her yard, and she considers them weeds. I liked the cuteness and elegance of the young specimens, so I planted a few right up next to our Siberian elm. They have stayed small for several years, but now are reaching half-size, so I'm going to have to move them. They are said to be edible when they are sprouting, like asparagus. I tasted one, and it was like sprouts.

Positive

On May 27, 2005, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

In spite of the species denotion "biflorum", this plant can have from 2 to 10 blooms hanging from the leaf axils. The larger the plant, the more flowers it produces (in my experience). Oddly, the plants in more open, sunny locations are often smaller. The big ones are in deep shade, usually smothered under poison ivy. My big ones average 5 blooms per axil. These are identified as P. canaliculatum in my Missouri Wildflowers book, but evidently, a person by the name of J. T. Kartesz lumped three previously distinct species ( Polygonatum canaliculatum, P. commutatum, and P. biflorum) into one category in 1994 (as P. biflorum). I am posting my pictures here, as a separate species, since I think there are considerable differences between the giant and the regular biflorum (which we also have... read more