Native to Europe and Asia, variegated Solomon’s seal is an herbaceous perennial in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae) that also includes hosta, yucca, and hyacinths. The pendulous flowers are carried on arching branches in the axils of the leaves in spring. They are bell-shaped, white with green tips, and fragrant. The angular unbranched stems are eighteen inches long and carry eight to twelve lance-like leaves with white margins. They are medium green until fall when they turn brownish yellow. An excellent choice for a shade garden.
Type: Herbaceous perennial.
Bloom: Pendulous, white bell-shaped flowers tipped with green in spring
Size: 24” H x 12” W.
Light: Semi-shade to shade.
Soil: Moisture retentive, well drained, fertile soil ; pH acid (5.1-6.5).
Hardiness: Zones 3-8.
Care: Side dress annually with compost and bark mulch.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance; susceptible to slugs, sawfly larvae.
Propagation: Division of clumps of rhizomes in spring and fall; stratified seed
Companion Plants: Ferns, hosta, bluebells, astilbes
The perennial plant of the year is chosen by a committee of the Perennial Plant Association, a trade association that promotes the use of herbaceous perennials. Members of the association nominate perennials for consideration, the committee selects four perennials from those nominated, and the members cast their vote for one of the four selected plants. The attributes evaluated in the selection process are:
1. Suitability for a wide range of climate types
2. Low maintenance
3. Ease of propagation
4. Multiple seasonal interes
Past Perennials of the Year are:
2012: Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
2011: Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas Blue Star )
2010 Baptisia australis (Blue Wild Indigo )
2009 Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Japanese Forest Grass)
2008 Geranium ‘Rozanne’
2007 Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)
2006 Dianthus ‘Feuerhexe’ (Firewitch)
2005 Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
2004 Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ (Japanese Painted Fern)
2003 Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ (Shasta daisy ‘Becky’)
2002 Phlox ‘David’ (Garden Phlox ‘David’)
2001 Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ (Feather Reed Grass)
2000 Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ (Pincushion Flower)
1999 Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ (Black Eyed Susan)
1998 Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ (Purple Cone Flower)
1997 Salvia ‘Mainacht’ (May Night) (Violet Sage)
1996 Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Foxglove Penstemon)
1995 Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
1994 Astilbe ‘Sprite’ (Star Astilbe)
1993 Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’ (Speedwell)
1992 Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (Threadleaf Coreopsis)
1991 Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’ (Coral Bells)
1990 Phlox stolonifera (Creeping Phlox)
The Perennial Plant Association also sponsors an annual symposium that features field trips, seminars, workshops, and a trade show in order to promote the use of herbaceous perennials in the garden.