Common Name: False spikenard
Skill Level: Beginner
Exposure: Partial shade, Shade
Soil type: Clay/heavy, Moist
Time to plant seeds: September to November
Time to divide plants: March to May
Flowering period: May to June
Smilacina is an elegant and sophisticated plant for cool, moist shade. At first glance the plant could be mistaken for Solomon's seal, as the arching stems and the paired foliage look very similar. However when it flowers, slightly later than Solomon's seal, the difference emerges: smilacina has 15cm (6in) long fluffy, cream plumes of flowers at the tip of each stem, more like astilbe in character. Plants spread slowly by underground rhizomes, building up into dense clumps. Plants enjoy moist soil in a shady position. They do not like chalky soils. To propagate, either sow seeds in autumn or divide plants in spring. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
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