Planting by the Moon and Stars: Great Idea or Hogwash?

This method of gardening might be right up your alley, or it might be so far out there that it leaves you scratching your head. Let’s look at “planting by the stars.”

Farmers and Gardener have been planting by the stars and celestial bodies for centuries.

To add another layer to your garden planning: According to legends and stories, each sign has something to offer a gardener and his or her garden. Let’s take a look at some gardening tasks and the best signs to do them.

The moon moves through the various signs of the Zodiac every couple of days. Each of the signs is associated with different elements, which are suitable for different tasks in your garden, like watering, planting, harvesting, fertilizing, and cultivating the soil depending on which sign the moon is in.

The Elements

One premise of gardening by the stars is that the Universe is made up of four elementsEarth, Air, Fire, and Water.

The signs are connected to the elements like this:

Earth – Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn

Air – Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius

Fire – Aries, Libra, and Sagittarius

Water – Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces

The Earth signs are very fertile and good for planting. The root is the part of the plant that is associated with the Earth signs. Earth signs are particularly good for planting root crops or transplanting to encourage root development.

Air signs are primarily dry and barren, Libra is an exception, which is good for flowers and herbs. Melons like to be planted in Gemini and Onions do well if planted in Aquarius. It is a good time to harvest or cultivate the soil during an Air sign.

The water signs, Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio are great for planting above ground crops. These are the best signs to plant in general.

In the fire signs of Aries, Sagittarius, and Leo, harvest, pull weeds, or get rid of pests. Harvesting is a good idea during a fire sign as the crops won’t rot in storage.

The Sun

The Sun is our closest star. It provides light that promotes photosynthesis in our plants.

An Eclipse (Lunar or Solar)

Fear led ancient people to shoot flaming arrows at the sky to rekindle the Sun. Many stories and myths from around the world tried to explain an eclipse, especially a solar eclipse.

The perfect lineup of the Sun and the Moon form a total solar eclipse. A solar eclipse happens about twice a year, but can happen as many as five times in a year, but that’s rare!

Ancient Babylonian tablets show a belief that the land is infertile during the time of an eclipse. This myth has lasted longer than most. The early bio-dynamic sowing calendars also say not to plant during the days leading up to an eclipse, the day of the eclipse, and the days following the eclipse.

Everyone has been so busy looking at the sky, that no evidence exists as to its effects on plants and planting. It is possible that plants will exhibit nighttime postures. Nighttime plants may bloom, and daytime plants may close up. It will be an interesting time to observe and record.

What about Solar Flares?

Solar flares create high energy particles that are dangerous to living organisms. Most of the dangerous particles of a flare are stopped by our atmosphere and rarely reach the Earth. If these particles reached the surface of the Earth, it would not only affect plants, but people, too.

Planting by the Signs


It is best to fertilize when the moon is in Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces. These are fruitful signs. Use Taurus or Capricorn if necessary. Apply your fertilizer during the moon’s waning phase, preferably in the third or fourth quarter.


Root crops intended for food and fruits should be harvested during the waning moon in the third or fourth quarter in a dry sign of Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Gemini, or Aquarius. Harvest root crops like sweet potatoes at the full moon in one of the dry signs.


When the moon is in a watery sign, like Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces, it is a perfect time to water your garden. If that’s not possible, watering in Libra is good, too.


Mow your lawn or meadows to increase growth during the first or second quarter of the waxing moon, or during the third or fourth quarter of the waning moon to decrease growth.


It is best to prune during the third quarter waning moon in Scorpio to reduce branch growth and set better fruit.

Cultivating Soil

During the signs of Aries, Gemini, Virgo, and Sagittarius, cultivate your soil. To cultivate your soil, add organic matter, creating compost, improve soil texture, aerate, and mulch. During the first or second quarter waxing Moon in Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, or Libra, add cover crops to increase nitrogen and decrease erosion.

The Science

Ask a scientist, and they’ll give you a blank stare or laugh hysterically. And rightly so.

The nearest star is more than four light-years away (that’s four years traveling at the speed of light, which would be great if we could do it). The light from the stars would not affect plant life here on Earth.

However, first-rate farmers and gardeners follow the signs, and while they might do just as well if they didn’t garden by the signs, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to say whether it works or not. We only have experiences.

We do know that planting by the stars and moon phases does no harm, so why not try it as an experiment? Plant half your garden by the stars and the other half as you normally would and see for yourself which plot does best.

Be fair and let common sense make up your mind. Keep in mind everything you know about gardening, even the most devout “sign planters” take weather and temperature into account before undertaking a gardening project.

Quite frankly, Moon & Star Gardeners never asked why it works. The farmer who planted his homegrown food by the moon and stars has a bountiful harvest to show for it. Isn’t that really all that matters?

Did you see Part 1 of this series? Click here to read Planting by the Moon and Sun.


Do you plant by the moon or the signs? What are your results? We’d love to hear about your experiences below.


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This post was written by Anthony Tamayo


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  • Debbie says:

    I always plant by the signs and my garden does well. My neighbor planted some beans when it wasn’t according to the signs and I waited and planted according to the signs, my beans came up at the same time his did and mine produced more! My husband and other people think that I’m silly for doing it but I always end up giving away produce. I must’ve planted beets at the wrong time one year because all I got was greens and no roots. Even when my garden gets planted late because of weather conditions and the signs, it has done well when others are having to replant their gardens. I believe in planting by the signs and my neighbors also believed in taking care of their animals by the signs. They said that some procedures need to be done at a certain time so that you have less bleeding. They swear by it.

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  • lynnfile says:

    there actually is a good amount of science on this well the gardening by the moon.. has to do with the pull of the moon on water and therefore nutrients and things like that.

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