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How to Take Care of a Silver Dollar Plant

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A cottage garden favorite that requires minimal care, silver dollar plant (Lunaria annua) is named for its thin, round, silvery seeds pods. Also called honesty, money plant, moonwort and lunaria, silver dollar plant grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9 and is a biennial, producing small clumps of foliage one year and flowering and setting seed the next. In its preferred full-sun to partial-shade sites and moist, organically rich soil, silver dollar plant suffers from few pests or diseases and self-seeds freely, making it invasive some areas.

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Water silver dollar plant regularly so the soil is constantly moist but not soggy.

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Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch, such as compost, well-rotted manure or leaf mold, over the soil around the silver dollar plant, avoiding the plant's stem. Top up the mulch throughout the growing season, if needed.

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Dilute a 24-8-16 fertilizer at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water and use it to water the silver dollar plants every two weeks during the first year's growing season, or according to the instructions on the fertilizer label. Spread a slow-release, ready-to-use 9-18-9 granular fertilizer when new growth appears in spring the following year, at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 1 square foot, or according to the manufacturer's instructions. Reapply the fertilizer once more after three months.

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Examine silver dollar plant weekly during the growing season for signs of disease, such as leaf spots, white blisters, or stunted or distorted growth. Avoid wetting plant foliage when watering if disease symptoms appear, and remove poorly growing, sickly plants, to avoid the spread of infection.

Tip

Silver dollar plant grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide, and bears purple -- or more rarely white -- fragrant spring flowers followed by its ornamental seed heads, which work especially well in dried flower arrangements. To encourage silver dollar plant to self-seed, remove the seed heads when dry and papery, open them and shake the seeds out over moist soil. To provide flowers and seed heads every year, save seeds in a brown paper bag in a cool, dry place until the following late summer, and scatter the seeds over moist ground.

Warning

Removing faded silver dollar plant flowers, also called deadheading, prevents the plant from producing its ornamental seed heads. Always prune the plant with disinfected pruning tools by wiping the blades with a cloth dampened in alcohol. Allow to dry before using.

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