LUNARIA – honesty, moonwort

A small group of biennial and perennial herbaceous plants grown for their fragrant small flowers. They are famous, however, for their seed pods which make an unusual display in dried plant arrangements.

Suitable site and soil. They do best in well-drained soil in partial shade. A good site is light, dry soil under trees.

Cultivation and care. Plant out those grown from seedlings in autumn. Once established it will self-seed prolifically.

Propagation. The biennials are grown from seed only, while the perennials can also be divided in spring.

Recommended varieties. L. annua (also known as – ,. biennis) is best known for its seed pods which are transparent, parchment-like, silvery disks about 3cm – 1 inch across but this biennial also has attractive clusters of small, fragrant purple flowers in late spring and the mid-green leaves are toothed and heart-shaped; it grows to 75cm – 2! – 2ft high by about 30cm – lft across. There is a white-flowered form L.a. ‘Alba’ and one with variegated leaves L.a. Variegata’. Another honesty is L. rediviva which grows up to lm – 3! – 2ft. It is a bush-like perennial with small, white fragrant flowers in spring. This plant also produces silvery seed pods which are useful for dried flower displays.

Pests and diseases. Usually no problems from pests but they are prone to fungal diseases including club root and white blister. There is also a viral disease which can deform the flowers and cause them to be streaked.


The dried seed pods of L annua – gleaming and shimmering – make one of the most distinctive elements in any dried flower display. Be sure to pick them in good time to avoid autumn weather damage.

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