Imagine an evergreen Solomon's seal with glossy, dark green foliage - that's what you've got in this little known, tough-as-nails plant. Not a real Solomon’s Seal but a beautiful look-a-like!
Disporopsis is a Chinese cousin to Solomon's Seal and was one of the first species to come into cultivation in the west as China started to open up in the 1980s (as Polygonatum cyrtonema, which it is not). It is an unusual and uncommon evergreen perennial with strong, upright dark-green stems that slowly form elegant colonies. The arching 30-35cm stems of Disporopsis pernyi arise from a pencil-sized, underground, slowly spreading rhizome and in late spring or early summer, small white bell-shaped flowers tipped in pale green are borne along the undersides of the stem. The flowers have some scent, I have seen them described both as lemon, citrus and nutmeg scented – I think it is a bit up to your nose what you can smell, and also time of day and how much sun exposure the flowers have just had. Some years you might also get black berries in the autumn.
Disporopsis thrives in half shade and good loam based soil but will tolerate dry shade once established. It can make a great evergreen ground cover together with Trilliums, Cyclamens and other woodland plants. It is a slow grower and very well behaved. You will certainly not find Disporopsis peeping out of the soil at the other end of your garden so you don’t have to worry about that, the clump will slowly increase in size and when it is a good size you can start breaking off pieces and give away, just like I do :-)
I use bark mulch in all my flower beds and I give Disporopsis pernyi a generous top-up every autumn – just throw it in between the leaves. In February/March, cut back all the old foliage to make way for new spring growth.
There isn’t much that attach this lovely plant in terms of pest and diseases, even the slugs seems to steer clear if they have something else to choose. It can get both vine weevil and spider mite attach, but only with bad infestations everywhere else - and the Disporopsis has survived both in my garden with just minor damage.
Disporopsis pernyi is a lovely woodland plant for a semi-shady spot and I can warmly recommend it!