Planting Prosperity: Growing Lunaria for a Garden of Silver Dollars

One gardener's weed is another’s favorite flower. Take Lunaria, for instance. It is also called money plant, honesty, moonwort, and silver dollar plant. This beautiful biennial flower creates interest in the garden year-round. And yet, some think of it as nothing more than a weed. However, an early investment in this easy-to-grow flower will pay you back in dividends.

Lunaria silver dollar plant seed pods

Adding Lunaria to Your Garden

Lunaria, or money plant, is an adaptable native plant in Europe. Also called honesty, this common cottage garden plant crossed the pond with the early colonists. It was even grown in Thomas Jefferson’s garden in Monticello.

 

The silvery iridescent seed pods that the money plant is so famous for are also why some gardeners consider it a weed. Over the winter, when the rest of the garden is bare, the oval silicles look like little moons dancing in the light. Branches full of silver dollars make an excellent addition to dried floral arrangements.

 

So why is money plant sometimes considered a weed? Because it grows so easily! Money plant can grow in all kinds of soil and full sun to partial shade. Lunaria self-seeds, and although not a perennial, it can seem that way because seeds sprout year after year.

 

Purple flowers rise on tall stems from mounds of green foliage and then fade to give way to iridescent seed pods. Lunaria is an optimal choice for wildflower and cottage gardens.

How to Grow Money Plant from Seed

Money plant is an easy-to-grow biennial. Lunaria seeds can be sown outdoors from spring until fall.

In USDA Hardiness zones 8-10, seeds can be sown in fall.

money plant seedlings

Seed Germination Tips

  • Plant Lunaria seeds 1/4” deep.

  • Warm soil helps germination. Use a heating mat to keep the temperature between 60-75ºF.

  • Keep seeds moist until they germinate in 10 to 14 days.

  • Lunaria seeds need light to germinate.

lunaria - money plant in home landscape

Transplanting Money Plant

Lunaria plants develop a long tap root and can be sensitive to transplant shock. If starting seeds indoors, transplant them while the seedlings are small. Take time to harden off seedlings and be careful not to disturb the roots when transplanting.

first year money plant-lunaria

Growing Money Plant

Money plant grows easily and doesn’t require any maintenance or special care once it is established.

 

In the first year, money plant will grow into a small, rounded plant of green foliage. The leaves are almost heart-shaped with sawtoothed edges. The following year, tall stems will reach two to three feet tall and produce purple flowers. As the flowers fade, green seed pods will appear. The pods will turn brown and dry up as the year goes on. Once dry, the two sides of the pod will fall off, releasing the seeds. An oval iridescent membrane will remain looking like silvery moons fluttering in the wind.

lunaria - money plant flowers

Sun

Lunaria will grow in full sun to part shade. It is often found growing on the edges of forests where it receives dappled sunlight. However, you will get more blooms in a sunny location with 8 hours of sun.

Soil

Money plant is adaptable and can grow almost anywhere. But for the best blooms and silver dollar seed pods, plant it in fertile, well-draining soil.

Watering

The long taproot allows Lunaria to grow in many climates, but still prefers about 1 inch of water per week. Drier locations may need additional water. Try to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Spacing

Space Lunaria plants 12 to 18 inches apart to give them room to spread. They can grow 2 to 3 feet high when they start producing flowers.

Fertilizing

Money plant doesn’t need extra fertilizer if grown in fertile soil. But again, this plant is very adaptable and will appreciate whatever you give it. A slow-release balanced fertilizer applied in the spring can keep it growing and flowering.

money plant seed pods turning brown

Harvesting Silver Dollars

Harvesting silver dollar plant is where your investment pays off. The shimmering moons on tall stalks are a unique addition to dried floral arrangements.

 

If you want to keep silver dollar plants from spreading, cut the stalks before they have a chance to spread their seeds. Once the seed pods have fully developed, cut stems and hang them upside down to dry.

 

When the outside layers of the pods have completely dried, they can be easily removed by gently rubbing them. Then, only the iridescent membrane will remain.

Money plant silver dollars on stems

Lunaria, money plant, honesty, moonwort, silver dollar plant, whatever you call it, don’t miss the chance to grow this delightful heirloom flower.

 

Let the magic of Lunaria bloom in your backyard and harvest your own silver treasure.

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