Holly Willoughby’s new gardening hack is raising eyebrows on Instagram, but it's expert-approved

It might seem New Age, but Holly Willoughby's gardening methods are actually centuries old...

Holly Willoughby arrives at the National Television Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena on September 5, 2023 in London, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images/Alan Chapman/Dave Benett)

Holly Willoughby's new gardening hack has taken the internet by storm, and little wonder: the Dancing On Ice presenter tends to keep her personal life just that – personal – so it's always intriguing when she shares behind-the-scenes snippets about what she gets up to at home.

Our ears naturally pricked up, then, when she recently began waxing lyrical about lunar gardening, which, we hasten to add, is not to be confused with creating a moon garden.

But, before you dismiss Holly's efforts as nothing more than another garden trend, it's worth knowing that lunar gardening comes backed by experts and is actually an old garden tradition that dates back centuries.

Holly Willoughby's lunar gardening hack

Now, as many of Holly's fans will likely already know, the TV personality runs a lifestyle brand called Wylde Moon, which aims to encourage its users to value reconnecting with themselves.

One of the best ways to do this according to the celebrity? To get stuck into a seriously mindful hobby like gardening, specifically, lunar gardening.

Steps up between the raised beds to the gravel path leading through the garden to the seating area at the end of the garden.

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme Photography Ltd)

'An optimal time for weeding, and garden control is when the moon is in Leo, Aquarius and Virgo and Gemini,' details Holly via Wylde Moon

'Prune during Leo, Aries, and Sagittarius during the Waxing Moon to encourage growth, or during the Waning Moon to discourage growth.'

We know we know: it sounds a little out there at first, but so did the No-Dig movement when we first stumbled across it. And, as we mentioned already, it's a practice that's so established it's even made it into The Old Farmer's Almanac (available on Amazon) which is essentially a yearly book that includes everything you need to know about gardening. 

A vegetable plot next to a greenhouse and shed in an English garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes Photography)

'Lunar gardening is an ancient tradition in agriculture which is now becoming much more popular again as gardeners strive for more organic, in tune with nature approach to growing fruit and vegetables,' says Morris Hankinson, director of Hopes Grove Nurseries.

Morris Hankinson of Hopes Grove Nurseries
Morris Hankinson

Morris Hankinson is the founder and managing director of Hopes Grove Nurseries Ltd, the UK’s only specialist grower-retailer of hedging plants. He established the thriving business in 1992, shortly after graduating with a Commercial Horticulture Degree from Writtle College, Essex. 

'Observing the moon phases and carrying out specific tasks depending on the waxing or waning of the moon is said to help gardeners produce more abundant harvests and a healthier garden overall,' continues Morris. 

'Of course, The Old Farmer's Almanac details the various phases to grow by but essentially it is based on the moon’s gravitational pull causing tides to rise and fall affecting moisture in the soil and sap in plants.'

Also considered part of the biodynamics movement, it's worth noting that many people and companies use Holly Willoughby's gardening hack of charting the course of the moon to ensure their crops flourish beautifully – including Albury Vineyard in Surrey.

'Biodynamic practices in the vineyard encourage a natural harmony between the earth, the vine and the cosmos as nature intended, without the need to use systemic chemicals,' they explain via their website.

'Major supermarkets Tesco and Marks & Spencer also follow the biodynamic calendar when the buyers do their wine tasting,' continue the team at Albury Vineyard, noting that 'the year is divided up according to the lunar influence into leaf, flower, root and fruit days'.

'Fruit days are regarded as the most auspicious for wine drinking,' they add. 'It is believed that the wine actually tastes better on fruit days.'

Black wooden raised trough planter with assorted salad and vegetable plants, stencilled labels, vintage flowerpots CH&I 06/2011 pub orig

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Although there is much more to lunar gardening than 'simply planting and harvesting at the right times, in general plants that crop above the ground should be planted during the waxing of the moon (from new moon to full moon) and plants that crop below the ground are planted during the waning of the moon (the day after full to the day before new),' explains Morris.

'There are seed sowing times, harvesting dates and watering/feeding suggestions as well. All in all, lunar gardening has been said to be extremely beneficial by gardeners.'

So, whether you're jumping aboard the purple vegetables grow your own trend, or sticking to the best vegetables to grow in pots, there's something to be said for Holly Willoughby's gardening hack.

In fact, we're off to do a little moon charting for ourselves right now – if only to suss out those aforementioned fruit days, so our favourite glass of vino tastes better than ever! Will you be joining us?

Kayleigh Dray
Acting Content Editor

Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.