Smilacina racemosa

False spikenard

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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen shrub

Flower colour



Autumn colour, Flowers



Skill level


photo by Lynn Keddie, copyright GAP Photos (220785)

Plant details

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 prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Convallariaceae

Genus: Smilacina

Species: racemosa

Plant type: Evergreen shrub

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Autumn colour, Flowers

Sun exposure: Partial shade, Shade

Soil: Clay/heavy, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 90cm

Spread: 60cm

Time to plant seeds: September to November

Time to divide plants: March to May

Flowering period: May to June

Reader reviews

andrew earl3

king of the semi shade border, a magnificent evergreen shrub.

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