This is one interesting plant with many phases for you to enjoy.
It is a biennial, which means it lives for two years and then dies. The first year it grows around 6 inches or so high, it takes the snow without losing it’s green, and then the second year it rapidly shoots up to spring to as high as 3 or 4 feet high and has bright purple flowers. It flowers in early Spring when there is not very much else of height flowering like it does, more or less between tulips and irises. It then slowly forms seed pods which then flake away revealing shiny silver disks, which give it it’s many names.
My grandfather called them “silver dollars” the more common names though seem to be “Money Plant” or “Honesty.” Apparently the plant can make you money as well. My grandfather always insisted that you could take the dried stalks with the shiny seed pod remnants and sell them to florists for big bucks. I don’t know about that, I’ve never tried it, but I do like this plant.
It reseeds very very well, you can literally just toss the seeds on the soil and they’ll grow. I cut down mature plants and just shake the seeds off and where they land they will germinate, but it isn’t really invasive, if it sprouts somewhere you do not want it to it is very easy to control.
Since it is a biennial I recommend planting your seeds one year, holding some back, and sowing those the next, so you get staggered plantings so that eventually you’ll have some plants blooming every year.
I’ve grown this plant in both full sun and part shade, even full shade, it doesn’t seem to care. I have noticed where it has grown in less than idea conditions (a seed germinates somewhere I didn’t mean for it to, but I let it grow anyways) it doesn’t grow as high or get as many blossoms, so it seems to really react well to good fertile soil, but that is about it.
I want to make an offer to blog readers, my seed pods are mostly ready about now, so if anyone mails me a self-addressed stamped envelope I will mail you back free seeds so you can get your own started. This offer is only good until the end of August though, and if like 100 people send me letters I may run out, but I’ll do my best to send everyone free seeds.
You can send your envelopes to
1836 N Harrison Rd
East Lansing, MI 48823