Biennis Alba (Lunaria)
Latin Name: Lunaria biennis
Item #: 964
LUNARIA (Silver Dollar)
Biennial 3 ft/91 cm Approx. 1500 seeds per oz/28 g
CULTURE: Perhaps one of the more unique biennials, this species is also a popular everlasting and is often used as a novelty in dried flower arrangements for winter bouquets. Sow seed indoors April 1st., in peat pots @ 4 seeds per pot, 1/4 in/6 mm deep, cover seed with fine soil and firm. Germinate @ 70°F/21°C soil temp. for 20 days. Thin seedlings to the two strongest seedlings per pot. Transplant outdoors June 10th., dividing the pots, and using both seedlings. Space plants 10 in/25 cm apart. Seed may also be sown outside about July 1st. in groups of 10 seeds spaced 4 in/10 cm apart. Thin seedlings 8 in/20 cm apart about 5 or 6 weeks later when they are 1 1/2 in/4 cm high.
Plants are rather disappointing the first summer, as they produce rather large unattractive leaves, on dwarf plants, and in no way resemble the unusual description in the seed catalogue. Plants provide a purple flower the following spring, which eventually disappears and prompts the plant into the self seeding cycle. This is when the "silver dollar" - like pouches appear. These are harvested on long stems. Rub off the outer seed covering to reveal the silver membrane - a light catching novelty for dried bouquets. Hang stems to dry for 6 days before using in arrangements. The use of metallic spray paint gives an unusual color effect. Plants must be replaced every 2 years.