Moon carrot: interesting, unusual, and fun!

Seseli gummiferum Moon Carrot Plant Select

Once again Plant Select® has found an unusual plant to promote that has been in the trade but underused in local gardens. Commonly known as the moon carrot, Sesli gummiferum comes to the program backed by accolades from our own Denver Botanic Gardens. It has been field grown en masse by local growers who are supplying the seed. This easy to grow, adaptable plant now needs a home in your garden!

The common name alone evokes an image that is hard to resist. The foliage is silvery-blue and lacy. As is typical with biennials, the plant remains in a basal rosette the first year. The second year a thick flower stalk arises bearing many pale pink flowers clustered in large, flat umbels. Blooms are continuous and generous from midsummer through fall. Try planting moon carrot in a ‘white garden’ where the moon’s reflection will highlight the foliage, or use it as an accent plant next to the more staid green foliage of your other plants. You will find this plant adds a sculptural surprise to your garden.

Moon carrot is easy to grow in either full sun or part shade and is not fussy about soils. It can adapt to moderate or low watering regimes. Remember that moon carrot is biennial; two years completes this plant’s life cycle. As with many biennial plants, future generations are normally assured through a plentiful seed supply if you allow your plant’s seeds to ripen and fall. Mother Nature will be sure to do the rest!

View the plant profile here.

Moon Carrot (Seseli gummiferum)

Biennial or short-lived perennial

Height: 24-36″
Width: 10-15″
Blooms: Midsummer to fall.
Sun: Full sun to partial shade.
Soil Moisture: Moderate to xeric
Hardiness: USDA zones 5-9.
Culture: Garden loam, clay or sandy soil

Thanks to Celia Tannehill for writing this piece.

18 responses to “Moon carrot: interesting, unusual, and fun!”

  1. Paula Mann says:

    I am unable to locate seeds for these either in our local Ft. Collins nurseries or the online retailers you’ve listed. Any ideas where I can find them?

  2. Pat Hayward says:

    Most of our plants are sold as plants, with seed available primarily to commercial growers. Sorry – I don’t know of a retail source of seed, but if you know someone growing them, you can certainly collect seed off their plants.

  3. Eliza says:

    How can I buy a moon carrot plant? Do you sell these at the Denver Botanic Gardens?

    • Pat Hayward says:

      Plants are often available at local independent garden centers, but it’s pretty late in the season (mid July) so it’d probably be best to wait until next spring. DBG sometimes has plants for sale, but usually only at the big sale on Mother’s Day weekend.

  4. Deby Janicek says:

    Just saw this at Jeffco fairgrounds and loved it BUT noticed it was inundated with yellowjackets!
    They didn’t swarm me but I’m curious as to whether this plant is known for attracting them.

  5. Karen says:

    A lovely plant I first saw on a visit to the Denver Botanical Gardens in 2014. Geoseed Seed Company sells the seed.

  6. Sandra says:

    I’ve had mine in a very well drained, poorly watered, sunny location for five years now and it is very happy looking (Denver)

  7. Tom says:

    I’ve read that it attracts wasps, but hadn’t really noticed it on our planting. However, it seemed to attract a huge number of house flies when it flowered. Ours were dormant this year, but I’ll check again next year when it flowers again.

  8. Felicia Hirning says:

    I just got my seeds! Thank you. I am planted them per Lauren Ogden’s Plant Select Chaperral Xeriscape
    Design listed on your website. She uses them as a filler until some of the shrubs grow in.

  9. Felicia Hirning says:

    Does plant select have yard signs advertising water wise gardens? Emily Goldman did a wonderful xeriscape design on my front lawn and I see people walk by looking at the plants with curiosity.

  10. Rebekah Fisher says:

    I don’t understand the biennial aspect. When you say that two years completes the growing cycle, does that mean the plant is spent or will it keep repeating the two year cycle?

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      The first year this plant germinates, it only reveals its beautiful lacy blue-grey foliage through the growing season. Its second year of life is the floral show! Watch it bloom like crazy! Then it rarely lives the next year. That’s why one will want to spread the seed that fall to start new plants and that cycle again.

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