Lunaria (silver dollar plant) is beloved for its glittery, ethereal seed pods. Learn to grow this unique plant. Lunaria money plants are not a common sight in the garden but their care is fairly simply for those who want to take advantage of their interesting traits. Read this article for additional information. Jimsonweed, Datura stramonium Stems stout, erect, 90-200cm high, usually much-branched in the upper part, smooth and hairless. Larger plants will have a main stem often 5cm or more in diameter.
How to Grow Lunaria (Silver Dollar Plant)
David Beaulieu is a landscaping expert and plant photographer, with 20 years of experience. He was in the nursery business for over a decade, working with a large variety of plants. David has been interviewed by numerous newspapers and national U.S. magazines, such as Woman’s World and American Way.
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
Typically known as lunaria or silver dollar plants, these iridescent “leaves” are actually the seed pods from the plant known as Lunaria annua. Native to both Europe and Asia, lunaria is actually part of the Brassicaceae family, making them the plant relative of foods like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
While their botanical name alludes to them being annuals, lunaria plants are actually classified as biennials. Lunaria is suited to USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8 and is best planted in spring after the final frost—it will grow quickly, with seedlings emerging in just 10 to 14 days. However, because the plant is biannual, don’t expect to see any flowers or seedpods until the following year.
|Botanical Name||Lunaria annua|
|Common Name||Lunaria, silver dollar plant, money plant, honesty, moonwort|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous perennial|
|Mature Size||2–3 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, partial shade|
|Soil Type||Moist, rich|
|Soil pH||Neutral to acidic|
|Flower Color||Purple, pink|
|Hardiness Zones||4–8 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Europe, Asia|
Lunaria plants have a long taproot and do not transplant well, so they’re almost always grown from seed. Sow the seeds outdoors in spring as soon as you can work the ground, covering them lightly with soil and water. Many gardeners love to plant lunaria along woodland borders, where they won’t have to fuss with them—they’ll thrive and see on their own as long as the conditions are right.
These unique biennials are grown not for their leaves, but for the flowers that come in the spring of their second year and even more so for what their flowers produce: the seed pods that eventually become the namesake “silver dollars.” The foliage in their first year consists of a basal rosette of leaves, and the flowers that eventually emerge in the spring of year two are typically purple.
The seed pods that follow the blooms are known as “silicles.” They start out green in color, later shedding the shade along with their seeds. The fully dried seed pod that remains (which is actually just a see-through membrane) is an off-white color with a sheen that makes it shine like a coin. These “silver dollars” are papery to the touch and not perfectly round but rather oblong, with a short, needle-like projection that hangs down from the bottom of each seed pod.
The pods can be used in dried floral arrangements, wreaths, and more. In fact, you do not even have to be proficient at floral design to use them—simply insert a few dried bundles into a vase for a unique display, or hang them from a hook over a window so that the sun can shine through them.
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
Lunaria plants do well in both full sun and partial shade locations. In a hotter summer climate, a bit of afternoon shade is appreciated, but ultimately the plant should get around eight hours of sunlight daily in order to grow strong roots and eventually flower.
Grow your lunaria plants in a friable, deeply cultivated soil to accommodate their long taproots. Additionally, they prefer a soil mixture that is well-drained and humusy—it should stay evenly moist without becoming waterlogged. soil that stays (or, through irrigation, can be kept) evenly moist.
Keep the soil your lunaria is housed in consistently moist throughout the growing season—about one inch of water (through rainfall or manual watering) a week should do. Keep in mind, the exact amount of water your plant needs can depend on your environment and its location in your landscape. Plants located in constant sunlight may be more thirsty than their shade-dwelling counterparts.
Temperature and Humidity
Lunaria plants need temperatures between 60 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate and become established in the landscape. After that, as long as they’re planted in the proper USDA hardiness zone, they have no special temperature or humidity requirements.
Once a year in the spring, treat your lunaria plant to a feeding with an organic or slow-release fertilizer to help encourage ample blooming.
A potential drawback in growing silver dollar plants is the ease with which they spread. Check with your county extension office before planting any to determine whether they are listed as invasive plants in your region (in which case they have the capability to crowd out native vegetation). As invasive plants go, though, lunaria plants are hardly among the worst offenders.
Under the right growing conditions, one plant will eventually multiply into many plants, and it’s their ability to re-seed that makes them such aggressive spreaders. However, if you’re hoping to contain your lunaria collection, controlling the plant is straightforward enough. Harvest the plants after their seed pods are fully developed but before they can drop any seed. This practice kills two birds with one stone since you will want to harvest them anyway in order to use the attractive seed pods.
When you’re ready to harvest, cut off the plant at its base and bring it indoors. Tie your bundle of lunaria with some twine or string and suspend it upside-down in a room that boasts low humidity levels. The seed pods should be fully dried in about two to three weeks—you’ll notice that the husk (which is the green, outer layer) has likely fallen off by itself, but if it doesn’t, you can gently rub it off. Caring for the pods consists essentially of harvesting and drying them properly—they require virtually no maintenance beyond that.
While extremely easy to care for, lunaria can encounter a few disease issues that can be a nuisance. Beyond being susceptible to aphids (which can be treated using an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil like neem oil), lunaria plants can also come down with diseases like septoria leaf spot. Septoria leaf spot is a fungal disease that creates gray and black marks on the leaves of the plant. LIkewise, clubroot, another issue for lunaria, can cause the leaves to wilt or yellow. If you notice signs of either of these issues, remove any part of the infected plants and isolate it if possible until signs of infection pass.
Money Plant Care Instructions – Tips On How To Grow Money Plants
Lunaria, Silver Dollar: The Pilgrims brought them to the colonies on the Mayflower. Thomas Jefferson grew them in the famous gardens of Monticello and mentioned them in his letters. Today, if you look up money plant care, instructions are scarce. Perhaps this is because many gardeners consider caring for a money plant the same as caring for a weed.
Money Plant Growing Info
Also known as Honesty, of the genus Lunaria, silver dollar plants are named for their fruit, with pods dry to flat silverish discs about the size of — you guessed it — silver dollars. They hail from Europe and were one of the first flowers grown in the dooryard gardens of the New World for their pods and edible roots. They are members of the family Brassicaceae or mustard family, which is evident in their foliage: fast-growing, single stems that can reach about 2 feet (61 cm.) high with broad oval leaves that are coarsely toothed.
There is nothing mustard-like about the flowers, however. They are delicate, four-petaled, pink to purple blossoms grown in racemes or clusters atop the long stems and bloom in early to midsummer. The seed pods produced by these dainty flowers are what make caring for a money plant worthwhile. By late summer, the large flat seed pods have dried to silvery discs that show off the seeds inside.
Maybe those gardeners who consider the flower to be a pest have a valid argument. Once you learn how to grow money plants, they tend to become permanent additions to the landscape and pop up anywhere except where you wanted them. Even some experts refer to them in their money plant growing info as weeds. Shame on them! They certainly aren’t suitable for more formal gardens, but they can be a delight elsewhere.
Still, there are some very good reasons for caring for money plants in your garden.
Why Grow Lunaria Silver Dollar
Nothing interests kids in flower gardening like learning about how to grow money plants. The seeds sprout easily. The plants grow quickly. The flowers are delightful and no child can resist those fascinating seed pods. Money plant care instructions are easy to follow and plants are easy to ignore! They’ll happily grow in a patch of weeds.
For many of us with more informal style gardens, surprises are always welcome and considered part of the fun. Nothing is as surprising as the money plant. Growing info usually points this out as a negative because the silver dollar’s papery pods are carried like kites on the wind and germinate where they fall. While lunarias are biennials, growing one year and flowering the next, they are so prolific they are often mistaken for perennials and considered invasive. What the money plant growing info usually fails to mention is they are so much easier to weed out than most other garden annoyances.
The dried stalks of the Lunaria silver dollar plant makes excellent additions to dried flower arrangements created from your landscape either in conjunction with other plants, such as grasses, or alone clustered in a vase.
Money Plant Care Instructions – Tips on How to Grow Money Plants
Money plant care instructions are easy and straightforward. Seeds can be directly sown at any time from spring to fall but are easiest to plant in the spring. Sprinkle them on the earth and cover with a light coating of soil and water well.
They prefer a sunny location, but will grow well in semi-shade and have no particular preference for soil type, which is why they are so likely to turn up growing among your more fussy garden plants. Anywhere is home to a money plant!
Care instructions usually include at least one dose of general use fertilizer per year, but again, they’ll accept whatever you offer surrounding plants.
Once it germinates, caring for a money plant is just that simple. If the weather becomes too dry, they appreciate a little water, but not too much. About the only thing a Lunaria silver dollar objects to is soggy feet.
Give them a try and form your own opinion about the value of learning how to grow money plants in your garden.
Jimsonweed, Datura stramonium
Stems stout, erect, 90-200cm high, usually much-branched in the upper part, smooth and hairless. Larger plants will have a main stem often 5cm or more in diameter.
Cotyledons (seed leaves) are narrow and about 2-4cm long, shriveling but persisting on the developing seedling. The first true leaves are ovate with pointed tips and few or no lobes. Later leaves distinctly alternate (1 per node), usually somewhat coarsely and sharply toothed or lobed, 10-20cm long and long-stalked.
Flowers and Fruit
Flowers and seedpods short-stalked, borne singly in the angles between 2 or more stems and a leaf. The calyx is tubular or urn-shaped. The corolla is white or light purple, very long, tubular or trumpet-shaped, 7-10cm long with the flared end having 5 points. The seedpod is at first green and fleshy with sharp, soft spines, becoming a large (2-5cm across), dry, hard seedpod covered with very sharp, harsh spines and containing numerous black, flat, round seeds. Flowers from July to autumn.
Jimsonweed occurs in the warmer parts of southern Ontario in cultivated fields and around farmyards.
It is distinguished by its tall, stout, branched stem (like small trees), large leaves, large, white or purplish trumpet-shaped flowers, large spiny seedpod and sour repulsive odour.
All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Human Health Issues
All parts of the jimsonweed plant are poisonous and are fatal if consumed in high quantities. Its toxicity is caused by tropane alkaloids.
Jimsonweed. A. Top of flowering plant. B. Seedling. C. Fruit.
linear cotyledons of Jimsonweed
A young seedling plant.
Large seedling plant prior to flowering.
The poisonous seeds of Jimsonweed
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