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Perennial Plant of the Year 2013: Solomon's seal

Variegated Solomon's seal is the 2013 Perennial Plant

Variegated Solomon's seal is the 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year. Credit: Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder

The Perennial Plant Association has named the 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year: Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ (say it with me now: po-lig-o-nay’tum o-do-ray’tum vair-e-ah-gay’tum).

Every year, the Perennial Plant Association bestows this title on one standout plant. You might be more familiar with one of this year's winner's common names: variegated Solomon's seal, striped Solomon's seal, fragrant Solomon's seal or -- wait for it -- variegated fragrant Solomon's seal.

Hardy in zones 3 through 8 (we're firmly rooted in 7 here on Long Island), this year's honoree is a shade lover and can tolerate part to full shade conditions. It prefers moist, well-draining soil and is hailed for its arching stems and small, bell-shaped, greenish-white flowers in mid to late spring. The show continues when foliage turns yellow in autumn, and there are no insect or disease problems to worry about.

Plant rhizomes just below the soil surface in shaded borders and woodland gardens that need some brightening up, and divide plants in spring or fall. The variegated foliage is a nice addition to  flower arrangements, too.

Sweet smelling, blooming, variegated and shade loving? All in all, a worthy winner.

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