Lunaria: Direct Sow Biennial
How to Sow
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
- Direct sow in a sunny or lightly shaded location in the garden in spring after danger of last frost. In the Deep South, Gulf or Pacific Coast areas, sow from fall to spring.
- Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
- Sow evenly and thinly and cover with fine soil.
- Firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Seedlings will emerge in 10-14 days depending on soil and weather conditions.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
- Lunaria produces foliage the first year and blooms and makes “money” the second.
- While the seedpods are the main attraction, lunaria flowers are nicely scented as well as pretty.
- Plants are biennial and die after forming seed pods. Cut some seed pods for dried arrangements, but leave some in the garden as lunaria self-sows with enthusiasm.
Common Disease Problems
Clubroot: Leaf symptoms include stunting, yellowing and wilt. When the plants are removed from the soil the roots may have galls, swelling or be distorted. Burpee Recommends: Test the soil pH as clubroot is most common in acid soil. Add lime to raise the pH. Avoid planting where brassica plants were grown the previous year.
Septoria Leaf Spot: This disease causes severe losses in the Atlantic and Central states. It is most severe during rainy seasons in closely planted gardens. It usually appears when the plants begin to set fruit. Circular spots with gray centers and dark margins appear on the lower older leaves. Fungi spores are produced and darken the center of the spots. There is a progressive loss of foliage and fruits suffer from sunscald. Burpee Recommends: Remove and destroy infected plant debris. Don't handle or brush against plants when they are wet. Rotate plantings. Remove weeds growing nearby
White Blister Rust: This fungus causes white to cream colored blister-like lesions form on the undersides of leaves that rupture and turn powdery white. The leaf area opposite the lesions bulges out slightly and turns slightly yellow. Burpee Recommends: Avoid wetting the leaves when watering. Remove infected plant part and destroy. Provide good air circulation.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
How do I cut my lunaria for dried arrangements? Cut once the seed pods turn from green to brown and hang them in a warm dry location until the seeds fall out. Use your fingers to gently loosen the husks to reveal the white “money”.
Is lunaria a good pollinator plant? Yes, it attracts butterflies.
Can I grow lunaria in a container? We would not recommend lunaria in a container because it will not bloom until the second year, and we do not recommend transplanting after the first year. They also grow rather large for a container, 30 inches tall.
Is lunaria deer resistant? No, unfortunately lunaria is not considered deer resistant.
How can I get lunaria to come back every year? Plant lunaria two years in a row, then allow it to self sow at the end of the season. This should provide plants for years to come.