Available in spring- and fall-blooming species, anemones are able to provide flowers throughout the growing season. These low-growing plants produce tall stems of bold flowers, making them suitable for a range of locations across the garden. Here’s how to plant, grow, and care for anemone flowers in your garden!
Anemones, also known as wind flowers, produce long-lasting blooms on reaching stems. Low maintenance, they are perfect for borders, containers, raised beds, and naturalized areas. There are over 200 species of anemones and they come in all shapes and sizes. In general, their foliage grows low to the ground and their flowers appear on thin stems poking out above the leaves.
Note: These fast-growing flowers are apt to spread and some species may be considered invasive. Check with local regulations before planting and keep the plants contained if you don’t wish for them to spread!
Choose a spot with well-draining soil that stays evenly moist. Add compost, leaf mold or aged manure to the soil before planting to improve texture and fertility, if necessary. Anemones don’t like to sit in wet soil (especially in winter), but they will appreciate some moisture during the hottest and driest months of the year.
Anemones will grow best in a location that is mostly sunny but that does receive a bit of shade, especially during the middle of the day.
When to Plant Anemones
In warmer regions (Zones 7 to 9), plant anemones in the fall.
In cold climates (Zones 4 to 6), plant the tubers in early spring, as they will need to settle in before they can tolerate freezing temperatures.
How to Plant Anemones
Soak the tubers overnight in tepid water before planting. This will help them get established sooner after planting.
Plant tubers 3 to 4 inches deep and space them 4 to 6 inches apart.
Water deeply after planting.
Anemones usually take at least one growing season to get established, blooming profusely in the following year.
Keep soil moist (especially in the warmer, drier part of the year), but don’t overwater.
Add organic mulch around the plants to keep soil moist and suppress weeds.
Some of the taller, fall-blooming varieties may need staking.
Deadhead faded flowers to encourage more blooms.
Fertilize in early spring.
If you live in colder regions, tubers can be dug up in the fall and stored indoors over the winter. Dry the tubers before placing in a paper bag and storing in a well-ventilated area.
Divide anemones every 3 to 4 years.
Anemone blanda aka Grecian anemone: 4 to 8 inches tall; mounds of daisy-like blooms; blooms in late spring; comes in blue, pink, white, magenta, mauve, and bicolor. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9.
Anemone canadensis aka Canada or meadow anemone: 1 to 2 feet tall; upward-facing white flowers; blooms from April to June; spreads quickly and can become invasive. Hardy in Zones 3 to 8.
A. coronaria aka poppy anemone: 1 to 1.5 feet tall; white, pink, red or blue large, single or double flowers; hardy in Zones 7 to 10.
A. coronaria ‘Hollandia’ has bright red flowers with black centers that bloom all spring.
A. sylvestris aka snowdrop anemone: 1 to 1.5 feet tall; fragrant, single white flowers with yellow stamens; tolerates shade; blooms in spring; Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.
Eriocapitella hupehensis ‘Hadspen Abundance’: 2 to 3 feet tall; masses of 2-toned, pink single flowers; blooms from August to September; hardy in Zones 5-8.
E. x hybrida (hybrids of Japanese anemone): heights vary by cultivar; perennial.
‘Whirlwind’: 3 to 4 feet tall; semi-double white flowers with green edges; blooms August to October; hardy in Zones 4-8.
‘Wild Swan’: 1 ½ feet tall; large white flowers with lavender reverse sides; long bloom time from June to mid fall; hardy in Zones 6 to 8.
Anemones as Cut Flowers
Anemones make for excellent cut flowers. Harvest the flowers in the early morning.
Flowers should be harvested when they have just started to open. Petals should be just beginning to separate.
Change the water in the vase every 3 to 4 days.
Blooms will last up to 2 weeks.
Wit and Wisdom
Anemones belong to the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.
The genus name is derived from the Greek word anemos, meaning “wind.”
The petals close up at night and reopen in the morning.
In Irish and English folk tales, many believed that fairies would sleep within the petals as they closed up at night.