Money Plant reseeds itself year after year

Published 5:05 pm Monday, May 18, 2015

Good morning, gardeners!
For more than 20 years, Money Plant has returned to bloom in my garden early each spring. The 2-foot-tall plant is a cheerful green while weather is still cold. Then blooms appear as if by magic, adding purple flowers at the top of each branch. No bugs seem to bother the plant, and deer have not nibbled it. We can all enjoy growing this carefree plant.
Named Money Plant of the genus, Lunaria, Silver Dollar or Honesty, the plant is named from the appearance of seedpods as flat, oval green, changing to the appearance of silver dollars with seed observed inside. The seedpods stay on the plants until late fall, waving their silver shapes in the wind, and sometimes sailing as tiny kites to new locations. Then, at some magical time, the silver seedpods fall to the ground to scatter and take root. This activity is so quiet; we do not even notice the miracles at work in our gardens.
Pilgrims brought money plant seed from Europe to the Colonies on the Mayflower. Thomas Jefferson grew them in his famous gardens at Monticello and mentioned them in his letters. These were one of the first plants grown in dooryard gardens of the New World for their pods and edible roots. Although a biennial, growing one year and flowering the next, they are easy to grow from seed.
Seed can be directly sown at any time from spring to fall, but are easiest to plant in the spring as the ground begins to warm. Simply sprinkle seed on the earth cover with a light coating of soil, and water gently. Money plant grows happily in part shade or full sun, and is not particular about soil type. Remember these plants have not had swimming lessons, so good drainage is important. Because money plant seed is designed to blow in the wind, you may find a plant here and there in the garden, planted by nature.
Gardeners with open minds do not find this plant invasive, just a little surprising when it comes up in a new location and adds its lovely blooms to the garden. It is truly delightful when left alone to grow where it likes. As a wildflower, Money Plant is a joy, and is never considered a weed.
Blooms range in color from pale pink to deep purple, and sometimes white. It is interesting how money plant changes location each year. This spring money plant came up in a curvy band about twenty feet long by about two feet wide. In full bloom, it appears as a small creek flowing along the front of a flowerbed. This is an unexpected purple strip, in full flower, flowing along the flowerbed. Planted by nature, loved with smiles, it thrives with only nature to appreciate and applaud the creation of such beauty. How nice. Happy Gardening Everyone!
Jeanne Cope is a Freelance Garden Writer; Appears monthly on TV Channel 11, Daytime TriCities; UT Lifetime Master Gardener; Email

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