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February 13, 2012

Grow Money Plants

-by Debra Anchors

Honesty
Moonwort is as irresistible to children as sunflowers are to goldfinches. When kids discover the ripened pods in the garden, they immediately know they’ve struck it rich. Children hang money plant seeds from their ears as earrings, make stickpins and brooches with the flowers, create beautiful crowns to wear and gather piles of the gleaming “coins”.

Throughout the season, gardeners count on the dependable moonwort to enhance bouquets and potpourri mixtures (separate the pods and use them singly).  Cleaned and dried, money plant pods can be enjoyed year-round in dried arrangements.

The oil painting here is by Jean Bradbury and is named “Honesty”. The Money Plant is also known as Honesty, Bolbonac, Moonwort and Silver Dollar (Lunaria annua).


Money Plant - flowers
To Grow  – This plant thrives in Zones 5 through 9 in dappled shade to sunshine. Sow the seeds in warm, moist potting soil in containers or direct sow into the garden in the spring after all danger of frost is past.  Allow 10 to 12 inches between the plants (they can reach a height of 36 inches). Mulch plants to conserve moisture, but keep mulch off the stems and crown of the plant.  Feed every two weeks with a combination kelp-fish emulsion liquid fertilizer. Take care to water the plants with clear water before each feeding to be sure the soil is already moist.


Money Plant - seed pods
To harvest – Wait until your plant stalks have turned brown before cutting them at the base.  Loosely bunch stalks and tie with string, or secure with rubber bands.  Hang bunches upside down until thoroughly dried.  When dry, separate stalks and gently slip the brown papery covering off the pod.  There is no need to use preservatives or sprays on the dried arrangements; they’ll last for years.







Money Plant - cleaned
Thank you for stopping by to spend time in my garden.  If you enjoyed this article, please let me know.  I will be delighted if you would suggest Gardens Inspired to your friends, follow me or subscribe to my Blog.

Leave a legacy, but garden like you’ll live forever! 
-Debra


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20 comments:

  1. I never knew that there was such a plant with such a transparent shell like seedpods.

    Thank you for droppin by in my blog & comments.
    Will surely check out your garden and plants.

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    1. Hi James; you may be able to grow the Money Plant (Lunaria annua) in Malaysia. It is a biennial but is treated as an annual by most gardeners where we live.

      I am happy to drop by your garden often; it is a beautiful tropical space. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I have added 'Garden Chronicles' to my list of "recommended reads" (under its own tab at the top here).

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  2. I have always been intrigued by pictures of this plant, but never knew the flowers were just as pretty as the seed pods! I think I'm going to try to sow a few seeds this year.! Thanks for the information.

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    1. Hello, HG - I think you will have an easy time finding seeds; I just saw some for sale at Amazon for USD $2. I know what you mean - I just love them, too.

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  3. The Money plant has such beautiful blooms and the seed pods are so fascinating. I had a couple years ago and something happened to them. Makes me wish I had seeded more after seeing your beautiful pictures.

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    1. Hi, Lona - Although I tend to grow Money Plant as an annual (because I don't like waiting between years), Lunaria annua is actually a biennial. Could that be what happened in your garden?

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  4. One of my fave cottage garden flowers. I'm hoping it self seeds this year but as a standby I will plant some seeds anyway.

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    1. Hi Bridget, I usually add seeds year-to-year, too.

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  5. Hi Debra
    Great photos of this romantic plant-- well to me anything to do with the moon is romantic. And this plant will self-sow, which lessens it in some people's minds but I see it as an asset. Like Dames Rocket, it is a wonderful garden addition with awesome history and tradition. Great post.

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  6. I've never seen money plant in bloom. It looks a bit like phlox. Too bad it didn't grow real money!

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  7. A very interesting post, I didn't know much about this plant before...

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  8. It's beautiful and yes we call it Honesty here. Great information, I never knew, thanks:~)

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  9. Some years ago my dear Papa shared his 'magical seeds' so I could 'grow my own money' too;-) Each money plant that appears in my gardens holds such sentimental memories of my Papa's silly sense of humor & his grandiose wishes for my future:-) The plant proved to be as prolific in the hard clay & dry climate of Colorado as they were in the acidic loom and humidity of Michigan's north woods! The wealth has since been shared, the seeds like to travel...my neighbors are also now growing their own money!...(however they are easily controlled)

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Cindy. I love this plant and the dried elegance it lends to arrangements all winter long.

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  10. I loved it... This is my first time to have dried money plant arrangements.. my sister gave me enough for a couple of small arrangements.. This morning I was walking and someone had thrown away a whole dried bush.. I have spent the afternoon garnering seeds for next year!! and made a large beautiful arrangement in a crystal vase for my dining room table...

    Thanks! I had never heard of this until this year~!

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    1. Wow - SCORE, Galen! I'm happy for you, what luck! If you can, would you send me an email with a photo of your arrangement? I would love to see it. -Debra

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  11. We picked up some of these seed pods on our drive from Wisconsin to Oregon last August. We didn't know what they were/are. We threw them in the ground here but so far, nothing has come up, so maybe we'll see them next year! I found this link through a FB page called " Anchor Sales

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    1. Lucky you to find these seeds! Hopefully you removed the tiny seeds from their pods before planting them; if not, maybe they will grow for you eventually! Best of luck! -Debra

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  12. Good morning---my neighbor gave me a "branch" of her money tree....I am in Pennsylvania and am wondering when to plant----and if not till spring, how do I keep the seeds safe to insure growth next year?
    Thanks!
    Amy

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    1. Hello! Thank you for dropping in. First, be certain your money tree branch is dry. If not, hang it upside-down until it dries out. When it is dry, separate your stalks (if there are stalks on your branch) and gently slip the brown papery covering off of the pods. Many people enjoy displaying the paper-white stalks you will be left with in a vase. If you want to plant the seeds, you will need to remove the seeds from the (now) white pods and keep them in an envelope until spring. Direct sow the seeds into your garden after all danger of frost is past. Be sure to leave 10 to 12 inches between your plants so that they can breathe.

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