Silver dollar plants, also commonly referred to as money plants, are a popular plant for gardeners and florists thanks to the unique appearance of their seed pods. They're an excellent choice for gardeners of all ages and experience levels.
In this guide to silver dollar plant care, we'll highlight everything you need to know about planting, caring for, and harvesting your plant.
What is a silver dollar plant?
The silver dollar plant, formally known as Lunaria annua, is a popular plant thanks to its unusual seed pods. While they look stunning on the plant, these iridescent round leaves are better known for being used in dried flower arrangements.
In fact, the plant's name comes from the coin-like shape of its pods. The plant is often referred to as Honesty flowers in the UK since the seed pods are translucent and reveal the contents inside. As these names would suggest, the botanical is said to represent honesty, prosperity, protection, and sincerity.
The biennial plant is native to Europe and Asia but is suitable for USDA hardiness zones four through eight. Its fast-growing stems can reach around two feet high and boast broad leaves. The Lunaria annua is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which means it's actually a relative of cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli. And interestingly, the plant has edible roots.
How to care for a money plant:
Planting Silver Dollar Plant Seeds
Lunaria annua seeds do best when planted after the final frost of spring. The fast-growing seeds sprout seedlings in just ten to fourteen days. However, full-grown plants are difficult to transplant because of their complex root system, so it's best to plant the seeds in the plant's intended final location. Be sure to leave at least fifteen to eighteen inches between plants to allow for good air circulation and proper root development.
During the growing season, silver dollar plants prefer consistently moist soil. Therefore, you'll need to water your Lunaria plant around once a week, though your plant's watering needs may vary based on its growing conditions. For example, plants grown in an area with the full sun will likely need more water than a plant grown in part shade.
A silver dollar plant can be grown in both full-sun and part-shade. As a rule of thumb, your plant should receive around eight hours of sunlight per day to develop a strong root system and flower.
Fully-developed silver dollars have long taproots, so they do best in crumbly, friable, well-drained soil. With that being said, they are quite versatile and survive well in most soil conditions.
While your silver dollar plant will fare just fine in most soil conditions, it's best to give it a dose of slow-release fertilizer at least once or twice a year.
Though best known for its seed pods, the plant boasts equally beautiful blooms. Starting the second year after planting, your silver dollar plant will begin to bloom during late spring to mid-summer. Expect to see small, dainty four-leaf flowers in a vibrant light purple shade.
While your silver dollar plant will grow well next to any plant, it's important to factor in how quickly they spread. The eye-catching translucent pods look particularly nice next to brightly colored tulips, a lady's mantle, or forget-me-nots.
Pests and Diseases
Though your plant may be easy to care for, it can still develop a few common pests and diseases. The most frequent pest infestation is aphids, which can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Additionally, your plants may come down with septoria leaf spot, a fungal disease that leaves grey and black marks on the seed pods, or clubroot, which can cause them to yellow or wilt.
Pruning Your Silver Dollar Vine
While silver dollars aren't considered an invasive species in all areas, it's important to note that they do like to spread. Because of this, many gardeners place them solely in places where they'll have lots of room to expand.
Before planting, be sure to double-check with your county extension office that the species is not listed as an invasive plant in your area. With the right growing conditions, a single money plant will grow into many other plants, and it's this speedy reseeding that makes them grow quickly and overpower your garden in no time.se
But controlling your Lunaria annua is easy! All you'll need to do is harvest the eye-catching seed pods that, chances are, you were likely going to harvest anyway. To prune your plants, trim the plant at its base after the seed pods have fully developed, but the plant has yet to drop its pods. Remember, because the plant is biennial, they won't flower and produce seed pods until the second year.
Drying and Using Your Plant's Seed Pods
One of the silver dollar plant's biggest draws is its uniquely shaped leaves, which can be used in flower arrangements and home decor. Once you've trimmed the stems from the plant, bundle them together with a bit of string and hang them upside down in an indoor space with low humidity until they are fully dry. If a seed pod still has its green outer layer, you can gently rub it off— though most pods will lose them naturally.