Anemones are a perennial flowering plant that is part of the buttercup family. They are also sometimes referred to as windflowers due to the Greek meaning of their name. In Greek mythology, anemone flowers are a symbol of the love between Adonis and Aphrodite. These fairytale flowers are easy to grow and make a low-maintenance addition to any garden.
Anemones grow wild in several regions, including North America, parts of Europe, and Japan. They are also a staple in many home gardens. Their soft, cup-shaped, daisy-like blooms can help fill out and brighten any garden space, and they are useful in attracting bees. Anemone flowers have also become popular in arrangements for weddings and bridal bouquets.
Though there are many varieties of anemones, they can fall into two groups: those grown from tubers and those that have fibrous roots. Anemone types grown from tubers will be found at your local gardening store with other bulbs, such as tulips, and do well planted with them. Anemones that grow with fibrous roots will be found already growing in containers with other perennials.
There are many varieties that bloom from early spring to late fall in a range of colors, including white, pink, red, blue, purple, and sometimes yellow. These different varieties mostly call for the same types of care, but some grow better than others in certain areas. It is important to know care details for the type of anemone you choose. Different types will call for different care, have different blooming times to go along with their different planting times, and different optimal garden placements.
All anemone varieties are poisonous if ingested and should be kept away from pets and children.
Growing Conditions for Anemones
All anemone plants like moist but not soggy soil, and they should always be planted in a well-draining container or area of the garden. Spring-blooming varieties do well in partial shade, while fall-blooming varieties are fine in partial shade to full sun.
The best zones for growing anemone flowers differ from plant to plant. For this reason, it is important to research the specific anemone type you have to make sure you’ve chosen what grows best in your area.
How to Plant Anemones
Using a garden fork, loosen the top layers of garden soil. If you wish to add compost to your soil, now is the time.
Planting Anemones from Tubers:
Tubers should be planted in the fall to bloom the next spring. If you live farther north of the suggested growing area of your selected plant, you will need to wait and plant your anemones in the spring.
To prepare the tubers, soak them in water for eight to 12 hours before planting. You will want to plant the tubers two to four inches deep in the soil and three to six inches apart. The oddly shaped tubers can be placed in the soil facing any direction. There is no distinct top or bottom. Water the soil thoroughly. If you chose not to soak your tubers, make sure you use enough water to soak them thoroughly during this first watering.
Planting Non-Tuber Anemones:
Container-grown anemones with fibrous roots can be planted any time during the growing season but will do best when planted in the spring. Make a hole twice the diameter of the container the plant is in and as deep. Make sure to place plants at least 10 inches apart. Gently remove the plant from the container and place it in the hole. Make sure the top of the root ball is even with the soil. Fill in the soil around the plant, and gently pack it in with your hands. Water thoroughly.
Care of Anemones
Anemones are generally a low-maintenance plant and do not need much ongoing care.
Follow a regular watering schedule to keep the soil moist. The soil should never be overly wet. Once the flowers bloom, they should last three to four weeks. If not harvested, the blossoms will fall off or be blown away.
Once the blooms have been spent, leave the plant’s foliage in place for its nourishment. Any foliage that is fading or dying can be trimmed away for appearances, but step this is not necessary to keep anemones healthy.
Prune plants to soil level in late fall to prepare them for winter. A layer of mulch, straw, or leaves can be added above them to help protect the plants from winter elements.
Garden Pests of Anemones
Anemones can fall prey to a few common garden pests. Here’s what you need to know to keep your anemone plants infestation-free.
Japanese beetles and blistering beetles may be the most common enemies of the anemone. The beetles will strip the plants of their blooms, causing damage that may take a long time to heal. You will notice the insects with their bright markings: bright orange for the blistering beetle and metallic green for the Japanese beetle.
Snails and slugs will stay hidden during the day and emerge overnight to eat large holes in the anemone’s foliage and flowers. These pests can be pinpointed by the slimy trails they leave over plants and garden soil.
Aphids and whiteflies will attach themselves to the leaves of the anemone plant to suck the juices from within. They will cover the leaves and other parts of the plant in sticky secretions that can lead to mold.
Foliar nematodes attack from the soil level during winter months and feed on the leaves and foliage of the plant. Their infestation will appear as black lesions on the anemone’s leaves.
Due to their poisonous nature, bigger varieties of garden pests, such as rabbits and deer, will leave anemones alone.
Anemone flowers can be cut from the plant once they have opened. Fresh-cut anemones are a welcome, delicate addition to any cut flower arrangement. The blooms will stay fresh in a vase for three to four days after being cut.
Anemone Flower Varieties to Grow in Your Home Garden
Japanese anemones usually produce a white or pink flower with a yellow and green center. They bloom from late summer to early fall and do well in zones 5 to 9.
Grecian windflower varieties come in blue, purples, pinks and whites, and all have yellow centers. They bloom from late winter to early spring and do well in zones 4 through 7.
Poppy anemones have black centers ringed with a white line. They come in red, blue, purple, and pink color varieties. With the black centers they resemble poppy flowers, hence their name. They bloom from late spring to early summer and do well in zones 6 through 9.
Shellie Elliott is a freelance writer and new mom based in Dallas, TX. She grew up gardening with her grandmother and has worked as a florist. She is currently obsessed with cacti and container gardening in small spaces.
Want to Learn More About Growing Anemones?
Learn how to grow Japanese anemones with this video from GardenClips.
Learn more about the poppy anemone with this segment from Grow Plants.