Lunaria annua

Lunaria annua var. albiflora Alba Variegata

This biennial plant (ht 30 cm), often known as honesty, grows well in Sydney gardens, self-seeding from year to year. It was something I originally grew when I had a cottage-style garden, and it is with me still. It belongs to the Brassicaceae family of plants. The basic plant has plain green leaves with clusters of purple flowers, and is a pretty thing; however, some of the cultivars are more interesting. I like Lunaria annua var. albiflora 'Alba Variegata', which has white and green marbled leaves and white flowers. I grew it from seed many years ago and it still comes true from seed fairly well. I pull out any seedlings which don't show the leaf variegation, before they flower. Seedlings can apparently be transplanted if you have too many in the one spot.

Seedpods of Lunaria annua

The plant will grow quite well in shaded sites and doesn't need any special cosseting. It usually takes a full year to achieve flowering stature, so sow the seed in spring for blooming the next year. It flowers around late September or October. The branched seed pods which follow the blooms are decorative in the garden in their own right, and are sometimes dried for used in floral art: the papery shells of the pods being rubbed off to reveal a translucent inner disc.

Best grown from seed.

Flowers in September, October.