Anemone Quick Tips

Anemones are of easy cultivation. Generally speaking, they like a rather heavy, sandy loam, but not a wet position, and the addition of silver sand is an advantage. If planting substantial numbers of tubers, it is well worth digging in well-rotted manure, peat and either fish meal or bone meal.

No garden should be without these charming plants which can contribute so much to the late summer display. Though shades of pink and white are the only colours to be seen, it is the way their flowers are borne that makes for so much charm. Individual flowers ranging from 14 to 3 in. across remind one of the dog rose in shape, with yellow-stamened centres. From a base mass of vine-like leaves rise wiry, branching stems, tipped by nodding flowers and close set buds still to open. After a slow start in spring, most varieties begin flowering in late July or early August and will continue until autumn has set in. Good drainage and a mainly sunny position are the only essentials to cultivation and they are especially good on chalky soil.

The tallest varieties are white. White Giant leads in both size of flower and height at 34 ft., with Louise Uhink very close. There is little to choose between some of the single pink varieties such as Queen Charlotte, Max Vogel and Kriemhilde, which are about 2 ½ ft. high. The semi-double Lady Gilmour is much dwarfer, as are the deeper rose-pink Profusion and Bressingham Glow. These are only 20 in. tall, which is the height of the single-flowered September Charm, a clear pink.

It is a mistake to imagine that the bigger the tuber the better it is. The opposite is true, in fact it is the custom of anemone specialists to plant tubers not much bigger than a garden pea, and generally referred to as 2 to 3 centimetres in size, although the 3- to 4-centimetre size is sometimes used. Anything larger should be refused, for the probability is that they are old and have spent their energy.


Although small, it is wrong to plant too closely. An ideal distance between the tubers is 4 in., and they should be covered with 2 in. of soil. There are various times for planting and, properly arranged, it is possible to have anemone flowers available throughout many months of the year, especially if cloches or frames can be used.

Planted in July and early August, flowers will be available in the spring. Where cloches are in use, tubers planted in May will flower from October, having been clothed at the end of September. In some cases it is possible to raise a stock from seed, but this method means a longer waiting time for the blooms to appear. The most popular anemones are the Single `de Caen’, which have glossy black centres, the ‘St. Brigid’, with semi-double blooms, and the scarlet A. fulgens. The charming A. nemerosa, with white-tinged rose flowers, makes a bright show during April and May. The finely cut leaves are useful indoors, and the blooms on 5- or 6-in, stems are often more than 1 in. in diameter. There are several good forms having white or lavender-blue flowers.

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