Anemone windflower

Height: 15-30cm (6-12in)

Planting di: istance l0-15cm (4-6in)

Features: flowers winter to spring

Soil: good, well-drained

Site: sun or partial shade

Type: tuber

Winter- and spring-flowering anemones have tuberous roots so they are treated as bulbous plants. They are ideal for naturalizing in a wild, shady or wooded corner of your garden, for introducing early colour to a rock garden, or for cutting. (For summer- and autumn-flowering anemones, see A-Z of Garden Plants Perennials 10-11).

Popular species

Anemone blanda stands only 15cm (6in) high and looks enchanting in a semi-natural setting. If left undisturbed, it will form an extensive carpet of white, pink or blue flowers from late winter to early spring. It tolerates partial shade under a deciduous tree, where the flowers provide interest before the tree leaves appear. For blue flowers select varieties such as ‘Atrocaerulea’ (syn. A.b. Tngramii’) or ‘Violet Star’. For white flowers there’s ‘White Splendour’, and for pink flowers ‘Pink Star’.

Anemone coronaria (poppy anemone), 30cm (1 ft) high, is the red, blue, cream or purple species often seen in florists’. Two strains are widely available: ‘De Caen’, which has up to twenty single, saucer-shaped flowers in a season, and ‘Saint Brigid’, a double or semi-double strain.

Anemone x fulgens, a hybrid, has scarlet flowers standing 30cm (1ft) high, forming an eye-catching sight throughout spring.

Anemone nemorosa (wood anemone) is native to English woodland, so it looks best in a semi-natural setting where its clusters of feathery leaves, 15cm (6in) high, are superb for ground cover in early and mid spring. The single, star-shaped flowers are naturally white with a pink tinge, but lavender ones such as ‘Robinsoniana’ and blue forms such as ‘Royal Blue’ are also available, although usually from alpine growers rather than bulb merchants.


Plant the tubers 5cm (2in) deep and 10-15cm (4-6in) apart in any good, well-drained soil from early to mid autumn. A. coronaria and /I. X fulgens do best in sunny sites, while A. blanda and A. nemorosa prefer partial shade.

With succession planting again in spring, you can have A. coronaria flowering in your garden from spring well into summer.

All tuberous anemones except A. coronaria can be left in the ground for three to five years to spread. A. coronaria will flower better if lifted and stored during winter.

Propagation: When the top growth dies clown in late summer, lift the tubers and separate the offsets.

Pests and diseases: Watch out for and remove caterpillars eating the leaves, flowerbuds and stems of established plants. Few pests and diseases attack the species anemones, but ‘De Caen’ and ‘Saint Brigid’ can be susceptible to rust.

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