POLYGONATUM

Ashade-loving plant which will thrive in the shadow of treesand shrubs in a mixed border or in the semi-wild garden. The oval leaves clasp the arching stems, providing a graceful and decorative effect even before the bell-like flowers appear in early summer. The green-tipped white blooms are about 1 in. long – small pendent clusters lining the upper part of the stems. The flowering stems are popular with flower arrangers for indoor decoration. Add compost or peat to the soil at planting time, mulch in spring, water during dry spells and cut down the stems in autumn. When growing close to other plants lift and divide every three years. Watch for sawfly caterpillars in summer – if left unchecked they can skeletonise the foliage in a few days.

VARIETIES: The one listed in the catalogues is P. hybridum, usually described as P. multiflorum – height 2-3 ft. Spacing 2 ft.

Flowering period: May-June. For something different try P. japonicum ‘Variegatum’ (2 ft) which bears green and white striped leaves.

SITE AND SOIL: Any reasonable garden soil will do-thrives best in shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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