Lunaria and Michauxia: questions about blooming and pollination

mark4321_gwFebruary 18, 2013


I have a couple questions about two very different plants, Lunaria and Michauxia. I posted here because I think there might be people on this forum interested in both.

Lunaria annua: I'm curious how far along a plant needs to be to bloom this year. I saw plants in 4 inch pots that were a reasonable size (not desperate to be repotted, but ready to be repotted/planted). They did not have a huge number of leaves, and no sign of a central stalk. The woman at the nursery was not sure if they would bloom or not this year.

I'm also curious if there is a danger of hybridization among different Lunaria annua varieties. I have two plants of 'Pennies in Bronze' (that I expect to bloom) and was thinking about adding one of 'Rosemary Verey'. But not if there's a chance of problems.

Michauxia: Is Michauxia self-fertile? I ask because last year I had a blooming plant of M. campanuloides that as far as I'm aware of did not make seed. It was also in a 1 gallon pot in a spot with probably too much shade, if that could have made a difference.

All of these plants are/were from Annie's Annuals or other nurseries that sell her plants.

Here's a picture of the Michauxia last June:

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Hi there mark4321~
I was just thinking of you today, as the seeds you sent me are beginning to germinate. Thanks again!
I don't have any experience with Michauxia, but have grown Lunaria for years. I've left them in 3" pots until quite rootbound, which might trigger some perennials & biennials to bloom first year, but this hasn't ever happened to any Lunaria I've grown. They act like true biennials for me and self sow nicely. I'm fairly certain varieties will cross if given the chance. 'Rosemary Verey' is my favorite, but I'm excited to see my 'Corfu Blue' bloom this year. I've never grown 'Pennies in Bronze': it looks like one I need to add!
Nice to 'see' you.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:49PM
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Hi Jaynine,

I guess my question is, what does one mean by "second year"? Here are the plants:

Lunaria annua 'Pennies in Bronze' #1. Planted in a spot with some morning sun, probably Spring of last year. It has never grown much, perhaps because of the lack of sunlight or suboptimal water.

(the "vine" behind it is a small branch of Calceolaria perfoliata, which should bloom with large yellow pouch flowers. The small plant in the lower right is a white Lapageria seedling).

Lunaria annua 'Pennies in Bronze' #2. I just bought this 2 or 3 weeks ago in a 1 gallon pot at a local nursery. It is also an Annie's Annuals plant, that they potted up when it got too big. It's now in a spot that gets midday/afternoon sun.

I just picked up Lunaria annua 'Rosemary Verey' at Annie's Annuals for $4.95 (their online prices are higher). In a 4 inch pot:

And since I have the photo, a whole bunch of 'Rosemary Verey' at Annie's. Photo taken last April, I think.

Now I assume the third photo, of the 4 inch 'Rosemary Verey', was a plant started late last year. The other two I assume are at least 6 months, if not a full year earlier (started the end of 2011 or early 2012).

I expect the 'Pennies in Bronze' plants to bloom this year.

I'm guessing the 'Rosemary Verey' will not (?). I'm tempted to just put the 'Rosemary Verey' in the ground, and assume they will at least bloom at different times. Or if all bloom this year will the blooming periods still overlap? If so, I'll find another location for it.

There's no scale on the 'Pennies in Bronze' photos, but all have a blue Annie's tag that should allow you do somewhat of a comparison.

A hybrid between the two with the best qualities of both might not be a bad thing, but for now I'll try to keep them separate.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:32AM
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I would say a 2nd year plant is one that was started and grew, gone through a dormant period of some length and has restarted active growth. It's hard to tell if the 'Rosemary Verey' is such, but I'd guess not. I tend to agree with you in that it'll bloom next year, but can't be 100% sure. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Cuphea 'Triple Crown' (from you) has started to germinate...I'm very excited!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Thanks, Jaynine.

That Cuphea is one of the "cutest" plants I grow, with the pink plus yellow combination found in only a few others (for example Corydalis sempervirens), and with "mouse ears". And the hummingbirds love it. It's very amusing to watch the birds visit the "mice".

As far as I can tell it's just Cuphea cyanea, which I've grown previously. Below is a comparison I made a while ago, with Cuphea 'Triple Crown' on the left, and Cuphea cyanea on the right.

There was a PPAF on this plant (Plant Patent Applied For) meaning no unauthorized propagation. I assume it was rejected (?) since it just appears to be Cuphea cyanea... I think even in that case propagation by seed is fine.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:43PM
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I love this cuphea; it's adorable.
From what I understand, PPAF prohibits asexual reproduction. I don't think seeds fall into that category (at least I hope not). If they do, we're criminals!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Lunaria - well, I like it but I have to treat it as a weed in most of my garden - it has come up in large pots and beds which are at least 100 - 150 feet away from where it originally started! It spreads madly in our warm climate. And, yes it does hybridize - I bought some fancy dark leaved ones from Annie's Annuals, and within a year I had a bunch of hybrids coming up. My original ones have been in my garden for over 70 years accd to my now deceased FIY. So, they are probably whatever is common in CA - they have purple flowers, and make great dried "money plant" when the seed pods mature.

The fancy dark ones were said to have lavender discs, but I never saw any.

Thinking about it, it is probably my fault that it spread all over - when it is ripe, I tend to clean the seeds out of whatever stalks I am trying to save for arrangements out in the yard, and they blow all over.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:47PM
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