Sunday, 12 May 2013

Eye Candy

Plant of the Week – Lunaria rediviva (Perennial honesty)

Eye Candy Credentials

This is an unusual variety of a loved cottage garden style annual or biennial.  It has a delicate and understated beauty and deserves to be better known.  This perennial variety has beautiful, fragrant lilac-white flowers held above attractive heart shaped leaved which are deeply textured.  Once the flowers have faded the plant produces the typical fluttering elliptical silvery seedpods.  These will often stay on the plant well into the winter giving it a very long season of interest.  Bees and pollinating insects love it too.

How to Grow

Honesty is a woodland edge plant so needs moist humus rich, fertile soil which is well drained.  It thrives best in dappled shade but will take some full sun if the soil is rich and moist.  It requires very little maintenance and is best suited to informal or woodland planting schemes.  To propagate either divide established plants in the spring or save and sow the seed.

Looks Good With

Tiarella cordifolia, luzula nivea, chaerophyllum hirsutum 'Roseum', epimedium x youngianum ‘Niveum’.

Technical Stuff

Lunaria rediviva is native to open woodland, forests and uncultivated ground throughout northern Europe and into Russia.  It is not native to the UK.  It is a clump forming perennial which will grow to about 80 cm high with a spread of about 30 cm.  It will flower from May to June with the seedpods appearing in the autumn and persisting into the winter.  Alternatively the seedpods can be cut and added to dried flower arrangements.

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