When my husband had our house built 20 years ago, he had some black cloth and border material put down under some trees. 15 years later, enter me. I noticed some Solomon's Seal and some False Solomon's Seal coming up next to the border. DH had always pulled it or mowed it, but I decided we had to let it grow. This week it occurred to me that the plants were coming up from rhizomes underneath the black cloth, so I decided to pull some up and take a peak. Sure enough, the rhizomes were underneath the cloth. Any plants that strive so hard for 20 years deserve to grow and thrive. I'm pulling up the black cloth and letting the plants take over. I'm posting some pictures of the plants and rhizomes. This one is Solomon's Seal.
stubborn Solomon's Seal
Good for you, I6blue; I agree that anything that hardy should be allowed to run! I love the Solomon's Seal, haven't yet grown the False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina). Does anyone know how/when to divide Polygonatum/Solomon's Seal? My original clump is becoming pretty congested, and I'd love to spread it out.
For the last few years I've been working of a shade garden in my grove. This stuff is ruining the whole thing. The only way to keep it under control is to dig it out. It would be fine if it stayed in its place, but it can spread like wildfire........Just a warning.
Wow, ghopper, I'm surprised to hear that; are you talking about the Polygonatum or the Smilacina, or both? The Polygonatum I planted four or five years ago has expanded to a thick clump about 1 foot square (badly needs dividing), but hasn't moved beyond that clump at all. Very different climate down here, of course (zone 7a as opposed to 4b), but still surprising.
What I have, I believe, is polygonatum. You must understand that this is an old grove and the poly has had its way for well over a hundred years. I let it do its thing in a good part of the grove, but removing it from the " developed" area means that every rhizome must be dug out. Simply snapping off the top part accomplishes nothing and RU doesn't do more than set it back some. It has now moved into the lawn, so it's nearly impossible to dig. So in my opinion it is a nice shade plant, if you can keep it in its place. I haven't had much luck with that.
Thanks for the warning. My yard is all shade, and I'm interested in using mostly native plants to replace the grass which doesn't perform well anyway, so this actually will work well for me. This stuff has survived after more than 15 years of being smothered, plucked, and mowed, so I believe you that you have to dig up every bit of root to get rid of it.
16blue, I have Solomon's Seal in my garden(Giant, Normal and Variegated) and the rhizomes are thick and stout like fingers. Also they have round scars from previous years growth, hence "seals". Perhaps it is just the photos, but the white masses of roots do not look like the rhizomes on my plants, which are reminiscent of TB Iris rhizomes. Also, I have never observed Solomon's Seal to be overly agressive in either the garden or the wild. Are you sure of your ID? Can it be that much more agressive where the climate is so harsh? I am curious and would be interseted in some of your rhizomes if you dig them out and want to dispose of them. I would start some and see if your plants have apparent genetic differences from mine.
Spartacusaby, last fall I divided my Giant Solomon's Seal (6 ft) and everything came up fine this spring. In April I divided my variegated SS into several clumps with little indication of trauma. I simply separated the big, thick rhizomes and replanted them, again not unlike dividing Iris. Found it to be an easy process both for plants entering dormancy and those growing and in bloom.
Greenthumb, thanks much for that info; since your zone is the same as mine, I'll assume I can also be flexible about when to divide the Polygonatum. That's a pretty forgiving plant, to allow division in either fall or spring! I'll probably work on mine in fall, since that will be the fist opportunity.
No, Greenthumb, I am not absolutely sure of what I have. Will research it a bit more when I can get to it. Sure, I could send you all the rhyzimes you want. Remind me in the fall when they might ship better.
I'm certain of my identification on the Solomon's Seal. You maybe can't see it in the photo, but they have the opposite leaves on the arching stalks, and the flowers hanging down on the underside of the stalks. I think the reason the rhizomes are so thin is because the plants weren't allowed to green out and grow for so many years, so they never built up the nutrients that would be stored underground. I'd be happy to send you some of the rhizomes so you can grow them for comparison purposes.