How To Divide Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum

How To Divide Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum

with Tony Avent

By Published September 2022

Join Tony Avent as he discusses the growth habit and culture of Solomon's seal while showing how you can easily divide and propagate an established clump.

Video Transcription

Okay, we're out in the winter garden today dividing Solomon’s seal. Solomon’s seal is a group of summer/spring growing perennials [that] flower in the in the spring for the woodland garden. And a great time, we can divide them pretty much any time of year, but we happen to like winter because we have a little more time then. So, here we are. The bed looks dormant but if we scrape back the mulch, we’ll find that their overwintering rhizomes are right below the surface. If we get in here and chop, what we're going to come up with is - long things like this. Solomon’s seals grow, these are basically called rhizomes, or and what they are, they're underground stems. In this case, what comes above-ground is not actually the stem. This is. And you see it has growth rings. Which every time they send on a growth, they grow one ring at a time. If you look, you'll find that only at one end of the rhizome is the growth bud so that's where next year's plant is going to come from. All this back here is used for food and eventually, as the plant continues to grow, this just dies off and becomes nothing.

But what you can do, is actually make new plants from this. So, by coming in and taking the back piece and take an inch, two-inch piece, and just cut that and this is planted and then that becomes your new plant. Now, you must be patient when you do rhizomes like this. Because right now all the buds, the new growth, buds are dormant whereas here that one's ready to come up in spring. It will take this one year for it to form new buds which it will form all around the rhizome piece. And then the following year, so two years from the day you make the cut, you will have new plants coming up all over this. So, from one little piece, we can go in cut that as many times as we want. Now, every time you cut it, you're going to reduce the height of this year's growth because you're taking all its food supply away so, we'd like to leave a little bit, depending on how fast we want that one to grow. If you left this, let's just say a normal plant would be 20 inches tall, this one might be half that. And if you continue to get like this, this year you might only get four inches of growth, but you will have something underground.

So everywhere you dig up a patch of Solomon’s seal, you'll find, that's going to be this year's growth this is going to be your new plant for two years from now. You can literally take one clump and come up with hundreds of plants, as long as you're willing to wait that extra year. So, this year's growth, this year's growth, these would be next year's. One, two, three. So, if you've got a clump that's four to five years old you should easily be able to get fifty to a hundred plants out of one. And then replant them right back in the ground. These you don't have to worry about that because there are no eyes so just throw them in the ground. If you do have an eye for this year, put it facing up, cover those back over. And then in spring, up they'll pop and the following year, up more will pop.

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