anyone familiar w/plant commonly ref'd to as 'silver dollar'?

Lynn NevinsDecember 26, 2003

I am always trying to add plants to my garden that will add winter interest. I remember a plant from my childhood that we called "silver dollars", but I never see them anywhere anymore. If I recall, they had long thin woody stems, and the "plant"/leaves if you will were oval/round shaped, very flat discs, that were almost like cellophane in appearance, and you could see through them, and in the center of each leaf were some flat, black seeds. Does anybody know what the latin name for these are, or where I might be able to order some? Do they stand up well during the winter, or at least the Fall, in z6/7?

Thnak you!!

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eduarda(Z10 - Portugal)

The plant you´re looking for is also known as honesty plant. The Latin name is Lunaria, and I´ve seen it both as annua and biennis (indicating an annual or biennal plant). The flowers come out in purple or white, then the seeds are disk like, and look almost like mother of pearl. They can be started from seed. I plan to start some for my garden this year as well. I´ve never grown them before, so I don´t have first hand experience.

If you enter "honesty plant" in a search engine like you´ll get a zillion references from where to get the seed. Or you may try the exchange at the Winter Sowing forum here at gardenweb and see if anyone can send you some. The people there are incredibly nice!

Hope this helps

Here is a link that might be useful: Image of Lunaria (honesty plant)

    Bookmark   December 27, 2003 at 7:40AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

It generally won't bloom until the second year, and needs a zone 8-10 climate to live over winter. The variegated leaf form of Lunaria, L. annnua var alba variegata is particularly nice, and only takes on the white edged leaf characteristic the second year as it gets ready to bloom. This plant and the straight species will easily self sow in the garden similar to Cineraria if your conditions are right.

In a zone 6/7 climate, you may have to grow this as a container plant and overwinter it indoors or in a cool sunporch/greenhouse to see it bloom, although I don't have direct experience with this outside zones 9/10, where it naturalizes readily in irrigated garden settings with light shade.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2003 at 2:18AM
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I have this plant in my garden and have always called it a money plant. It is real consistent in self seeding and each year I leave some new plants so that the following year I will have "money". The first year it looks really different with large leaves and the 2nd year it has smaller leaves and small purple flowers then in the fall is when the silver dollors come on. Since I'm in zone 4 I rely on self seeding. Its easy to grow.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2003 at 8:30AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Well I guess my "bible" for climate tolerance, the Royal Horticulture Society's Index of Garden Plants is a little too conservative when it says this is a zone 8 plant...

    Bookmark   December 28, 2003 at 12:45PM
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Lynn Nevins

Thanks everyone!! Very helpful. Yes Bahia, I too was perplexed when you said it required z8-10, as the silver dollars I recalled from childhood were grown in Boston, which I imagine is z5/6 perhaps??


    Bookmark   December 29, 2003 at 1:31PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

I've seen Lunaria biennis listed as hardy to zone 4, and occasionally zone 2 (I think this is a mistake). Of course the annual form can be grown almost anywhere in the US, although it doesn't really like the heat.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2003 at 3:11PM
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animas(z5-SW Colo)

Money plant is an old-fashioned garden plant that making somewhat of a comeback, thanks to nostalgia (like yours and mine... I just purchased some seeds this weekend.)

In Salt Lake City (zone 5/6), the plant grew in dappled shade in a dry garden next to the driveway, flanked by gooseberry bushes, honeysuckle, sumac and daylilies. I remember seeing this plant year after year. I strongly suspect it self-sowed, but I'm not sure. As kids, we picked the seed pods and played "grocery store." We'd raid the pantry for canned goods, paying for soup, corn, beans and such with the various "denominations" of money plant pods.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2003 at 11:35AM
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In my climate, this plant is a bothersome weed. Will self-sow with wild abandon and I don't find it particularly appealing. Good plant to include in a cottage garden style of landscaping though, as old fashioned self-seeders specially annuals and biennials are very suited to this garden style. Easy enough to pull out any unwanted seedlings, too, although you may have way more than is necessary.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2003 at 11:34AM
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MrsMarquess(z7b GA)

I have many silver dollar seeds. If you are interested I'll send you some.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2004 at 1:43PM
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Lynn Nevins

Oh thank you so much for your generous offer. I did think about asking if anybody had any to give, but then, I have none to trade!

But in any event, I have already ordered some seeds, so thank you!!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2004 at 2:25PM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

I remember seeing these in the garden of a neighbor when I was a child. This was in Rochester, NY. Is it possible that it is perennial in zone 5?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 6:47PM
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liatris52(Cdn z6b)

I have it growing in my garden in Toronto. It is a sheltered situation downtown so a microclimate, but still it must be tougher than people think.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 12:30PM
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Nostalgia plant for me, too. I remember my mother using it in dried flower arrangements. Ordered a live plant by mail this spring, but it never settled in ... died slowly :-( I will try again from seed, since I never see it in nurseries.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2004 at 2:00AM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

How strange... I was just hunting for this plant this past weekend to use in a flower arrangement... was thinking I'd have to go buy/grow the dang thing! I guess I could pretty easily... ;) How lucky!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2004 at 1:47AM
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rosegardengirl(z6 ON)

I have lots of seeds if anyone is interested. I'm in Southern Ontario -- cold end of z6, I think, and I have thousands of them growing wild here. The spring blossom is a little like a wild phlox. Seed pods start out green, and are mostly dark grey right now. They eventually bleach out to silver-grey.
Best to sow from seed. I've tried moving a few around here, but they don't transplant well. Very shallow-rooted, with a funny little crook at the bottom of the stem -- for stability, I think. Prolific self-seeders, though, and they thrive on neglect. Put them somewhere they can live undisturbed.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2004 at 10:06AM
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I succumbed and ordered this again from Big Dipper Farms.
They say zones 4-8, so here's hoping it survives. I will try from seed also, but that means no 'silver dollars' next year, and I am nothing if not impatient, so I ordered the plant, hoping it will bloom for me next summer.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2004 at 3:16AM
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I can't remember where I got the original seed, but I do remember just taking a ripe plant and shaking it all over the ground under an old apple tree and another spot that was semi-shady. That was over 10 years ago and they require absolutely no care, water, sprays, fertiziler. They are the first thing to bloom in the spring here. I just love them. I would like to find the varigated one.

Good luck with them.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 7:56AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

It is also available as 4 inch plants mailorder. A form of this with white flowers and foliage that takes on white variegation/edging when it blooms, Lunaria annua variegata. If you don't feel like waiting for the second year's growth, 4 inch plants will bloom the following spring. I agree it can be somewhat weedy if you don't like it, but it is perfectly adapted to dry shade conditions in mediterranean climates, and combines readily with Cineraria and or Meconopis cambrica. You can see the plant at

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 5:38PM
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My family loves the money plant! I am looking for seeds of the white flowered variety, as well as the perennial species of Lunaria, if anyone is growing it. I have exotic hibiscus seeds to trade.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 10:26PM
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It is blooming right now in my garden - beautiful purple flowers. I took some seeds from my parent's house about 3 years ago, and have had self sowers since then. Don't worry about the seeds lasting the winter.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 8:02AM
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I have enjoyed reading all your postings..Thank you for the information.

My moms neighbor has a whole area of her backyard filled with these unique nostalgic naturalizing plants.

I finally planted a container full of seeds straight into the potting soil.. Kept moist in the sun and have atleast 50 healthy plants coming up ! I thought this plant was hard to grow, since many have tried.

Seeds go straight into the soil - water and sun = plant.

Today I got a few fully grown grown pull up transplants
about 2 ft tall - by the time I got them home they look very weak..hoping now in the soil they will rebound.

Reason for my posting is - 2 broke all I have is the stem with many silver dollars on do I make use of this broken Honesty limb ?

Do I put it in water ?

Do I put it straight into the ground?

Do I put root boast on it?

If you have an idea please let me know.

Thank you !!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 6:35PM
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Money plant (lunaria) is a biennial hardy to at least Z4. Seeds should be planted in spring to summer, it will come up easily and form a small plant which will stay green over the winter. The following spring it will get quite large and bloom, colors range from white to purple, with some pink and lavendar occasionally. It is one of the first plants to bloom in spring here in Z6, the bees love it! After it finishes blooming, it sets round green seed pods which ripen to grayish paper pods. The outer coatings of the pods peel off easily releasing the black/brown seeds, and the inner membranes, or "money" on the stalks can be used in dried boquets. Seeds should be planted immediately as they will form the first-year young plants. If you do nothing, the plants will reseed prolifically and can be pulled out when they begin to look tatty. Once they bloom and reseed, the mature plants die. They are NOT perennial.

Broken limbs will not root. Once they are mature, they won't transplant anymore. Only young, immature seedlings are easily moved. They do form a taproot, so be careful not to break it off when transplanting. As they get older, they resent transplanting. Since they grow so easily from seed, it is best to plant them directly into the soil where you want them to grow. I never "plant" them, just scatter the seed and lightly rake it in. I think they need light to germinate.

They do equally well in sun or filtered shade in average soil. They don't like a spot that stays wet, but will survive in dry soil.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 12:53AM
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I have alot of these money plant seeds if anybody would like a few. I grew up with these in my parent's garden and now have them in my garden. They re-seed well. Easily mistaken for weeds during the first year. After "silver dollars" appears they make great long lasting flowering arrangements!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 1:17AM
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