Gardening With The Moon – Plants And Gardening

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:34 pm

The plants should do well, that’s what every gardener wants, logically. This article asks whether it is worthwhile to rely on the help of the moon for this purpose. It gives you a first overview of gardening with the moon and which gardening tasks are best done in which moon phase.

Gardening with the moon

There is no proven scientific evidence that gardening with the moon brings benefits. Scientists agree with astrologers and esotericists that the moon has influence on the earth and life on it. Only the extent of this influence is judged quite differently. It is scientifically accepted that the moon influences the tides through its gravitational pull and that continents rise or fall in the wake of the moon’s gravitational pull.

Gardening With The Moon - Plants And Gardening

In July 2013, a study was completed that proves in one area that the moon has been underestimated up to now – and that the 40 percent of people who describe themselves as moon-sensitive may not just be suffering from overactive imagination after all:

Swiss scientists were able to demonstrate that the lunar cycle has a measurable effect on nighttime sleep, regardless of light sensitivity. The nights of the subjects in the sleep laboratory were shortened by about 20 minutes when the moon was waxing. This is not the first scientific evidence of physiological responses to the lunar rhythm. Similar study results already exist for marine animals. Deep in the ocean, for example, plankton moves up and down with the phases of the moon. Gravity (tidal effect), however, is not supposed to be the cause; it is not noticeable in such small quantities of water as in the human body, and certainly not in plants.

58 different animal species are known to date, which react to earthquakes long before any seismograph, and plants react to lack of light in a flash with a change in their entire metabolism, hundreds of genes are simply “switched off”, for example. In front of this picture, then, it no longer seems completely out of the question that the lunar mass can have an effect on single individuals, whether human or plant.

In any case, no one prevents you from starting your own scientific series of experiments in the garden, for example, gardening by the moon. Below we have compiled the most important experiences in this field for you.

Little lunar lore

New moon and full moon are special constellations in that the earth is in line with the sun and moon during these two phases of the moon. In both constellations the lunar forces are particularly well felt on earth, the sea levels rise e.g. particularly strongly. “Moon gardeners” assume that it is the same with the effects on plants. Who gardens after or with the moon, does that therefore first in the rhythm of these moon phases, which are considered therefore in the following briefly more exactly.

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The moon is visible for us only if it is irradiated by the sun during its migration around the earth, it does not shine itself. We can see only half of the moon at most, the “back side of the moon” remains outside our visual axis even in the best case, full moon. Depending on the position of the earth, moon and sun in relation to each other, we see different amounts of this illuminated half. The positions of the moon within a moon phase were named by the astronomers:

New Moon

Astronomy begins its consideration of the moon with the new moon, the moon we do not see. Because new moon is, when the moon stands between earth and sun, the sun irradiates thus from our perspective the “back of the moon”, the half facing the earth lies fully in the dark.

Increasing moon

Now the sun, moon and earth continue to move or turn, and soon we can see a piece of the moon. Always the moon starts to become visible on the right side, so increasing moon increases from right to left.

When the moon then has increased so far that we see the entire right half, is half moon, although this half moon confusingly closes the first quarter of the moon phase, so it is actually a “quarter moon”. You can see this waxing moon in Europe in the evening sky and in the first half of the night.

Full moon

The next one is the moon visible to us full (actually only half full, namely with the front side), the full moon. The moon appears to us in this way when the earth is between the moon and the sun. The sun “shines around the earth,” so to speak, onto the moon, which presents itself to us as a fully illuminated, magnificent sphere.

Waning moon

After the full moon, the moon diminishes for our eyes, namely its right half is less and less illuminated by the sun. When the moon is waning, we can always see the “moon on the left side”, the right half “decreases”, lies more and more in the dark. The mnemonic for this is: “a like waning moon”, because at the a the rounding is at the left side, like what one sees at the waning moon from the moon. About a week after the full moon, the moon is again in such a position that exactly its left half is still visible, so it is again a crescent moon (or three-quarter moon).

Gardening in the rhythm of the moon phases

And what does the current moon phase have to do with the garden? According to no less experienced gardeners, a lot. In short, the presumed influence of the phases of the moon on plants could be expressed thus:

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What grows into the earth is best planted and tended when the moon is waning. What grows upward should better be tended by the gardener when the moon is waxing. The plant juices sink down into the roots when the moon is waning, and rise into the above-ground parts of the plants when it is waxing. From this, specific insights can be derived for each phase of the moon:

Gardening at New Moon

  • gather forces for new beginnings
  • now carry out all work that supports the regeneration of the plants
  • Pest control, pruning of diseased trees and shrubs, quite radical
  • Growth energy at this time should sit in underground parts of the plant
  • Gardening during the waxing moon
  • earth should exhale, plant juices rise up again
  • in the first quarter the moon should give the first impulses to the above-ground growth
  • now plant what grows above ground: for example, leafy vegetables and cauliflower, watercress and lettuce, cucumbers and cabbage, roses and annual flowering plants
  • second quarter of the waxing moon belongs to above-ground fruits
  • depending on the season for planting and harvesting
  • also cuttings propagation and grafting should be the turn now

Gardening under a full moon

  • Now the power of the moon is greatest
  • Plants should absorb nutrients particularly well
  • Fertilize now, but pruning should be avoided
  • Herbs should contain the most ingredients if you collect them on full moon days
  • Gardening during waning moon
  • Earth should now breathe in
  • Plant juices sink back down into the roots
  • Now sow and plant everything that develops underground fruit
  • Put root vegetables, tubers and bulbs in the ground, or water, fertilize, prune and harvest them
  • Also weed now
  • shortly before new moon already start with pest control and pruning of woody plants
  • Gardening with the moon for advanced gardeners
  • Gardening with the moon for advanced is not only about the forces that waning and waxing moon unfold, but about the effect of the zodiac signs on the garden and the plants. And this is where it gets more than difficult. Today we no longer live according to a lunar calendar, but for a long time according to a solar calendar, where the “lunar months” had to be adjusted in time. Already with the actual lunar month we have therefore no longer much to do.

Whereby this lunar month already after the astronomical definitions covers a rather different period. There are namely many different lunar months for the astronomy:

  • synodic month (29,53 days, origin of the months)
  • sidereal month (27.32 days)
  • tropical month (7 hours shorter than sidereal)
  • draconic month and the anomalistic month (not important here)

However, astrologers determine the signs of the zodiac according to lunar months. The classical astrology is based on the twelve tropical signs of the zodiac and the sidereal astrology is based on the twelve sidereal constellations. And according to these constellations or signs of the zodiac the gardening should then be directed. Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, for example, are supposed to give us fruiting days when it is hot and everything dries out faster.

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However, in the tropical system from March 21 to April 20 is “Aries”, in the sidereal system from April 19 to May 14. There are also differences in Leo and Sagittarius, but different ones, because unlike the well-known tropical zodiac signs, the sidereal ones have completely different lengths.

So, if a publication or lunar calendar does not specify which astrological system they refer to, you can conclude only one thing from this work: Here someone wants money or a few monetary clicks from you, without having dealt with the content of what he is writing there in any way closer.

If a publication states which astrological system it uses, you still don’t know why in the zodiac sign Gemini only climbing plants may be sown, in the zodiac sign Leo seedlings should wither and, above all, the zodiac sign Scorpio should be the suitable time for slug control (according to the sidereal system the time from November 23 to 30, a rather unfavorable and short time for slug control). Certainly not a suitable time for action for critical minds. Any reasons, which would promote an own comprehensibility, are also typically missing here.


Gardening with the moon – why not? Perhaps it not only moves the seas, but also the plant juices. However, if you follow a lunar calendar that says you may plant root crops on 3/19 but not between 5:30 and 9:45, root crops on 3/20 until 1:30, and flowering plants from 4:30 (both at night?!), I guess the only thing to say is that you really have only yourself to blame if your plants don’t thrive.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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