The best perennial for dry shade: Variegated Solomon’s Seal

Variegated Solomon’s Seal is one of the best perennials for dry shade! Find out why!

Variegated Solomon's Seal

I love Variegated Solomon’s Seal. At our former house, I had it planted all through the natural areas that made up our “backyard”. We had a towering oak and three mature maple trees that provided dry shade for most of the area. It was nearly an impossible gardening situation.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal was one of the success stories from that garden. It grows by rhizomes which means the fleshy, thick roots are just under the surface. It’s tough! The leaves look delicate but are robust. In the spring they sprout up and look like asparagus. They then mature to gracefully arching stems. Once they’re unfurled, small white flowers dangle from the main stem for a week or so. I always look forward to seeing this plant peek through the soil. It’s a sign of spring. Variegated Solomon’s Seal doesn’t need any water during the summer once it’s established. I don’t do anything to mine. In the fall the leaves turn a bright yellow color. The stems then die away – no cleanup needed. It’s a great plant! OH! and it’s DEER RESISTANT! Deer eat everything in our yard – except Solomon’s Seal.

As I mentioned these can take dry shade. What they can’t take is full sun. I’ve see them in sunny spots in cooler climates – so those of you in cooler mountain areas might have success. They’re hardy in USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 – 8.

Take a look at my patch of woodland shade garden in this short video (and watch for where I almost fall off the sidewalk!)

Find a friend with a clump and ask them for some – it’s a great pass-along plant. It grows rather slowly so there’s little fear of it taking over your garden. You can find it for sale online and in some regional greenhouses. At one point I bought some pips or small rooting plants from a online catalog supplier. The pips were small and they took YEARS to establish. Life is short – skip the wait and buy more mature plants.

More about shade perennials

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