Learn About Anemones

How to Sow

How to Plant

Planting in the Garden:

  • Choose a location in full sun or part shade, depending on the variety recommendation, with moist, organic soil. Select a site that is protected from wind and afternoon sun, especially in areas with hot summers.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12, inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
  • The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
  • Dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the bare root.
  • Set the plant such that the crown is at or just slightly below the ground level. Allow roots to fan out from the crown at around a 45 degree angle. Roots should spread out separately, like stretched fingers, from the crown, and not bunch up. It may be helpful to build a cone-shaped mound of soil in the bottom of the hole and spread the roots around it. It is important to set the roots such that the crown is roughly level with the ground.
  • Cover the roots with soil and tamp down firmly to get rid of air pockets. Fill the soil to just below the crown, where the top growth and leaves will emerge. Make sure all the roots under the crown are in good contact with the soil.
  • Water well to fully saturate the roots and soil.
  • Wait until new growth starts to appear before applying a layer of mulch.

Planting Potted Plants:

  • Choose a location in full sun or part shade, depending on the variety recommendation, with moist, organic soil.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12, inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
  • The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
  • Plant on a cloudy day or in late afternoon to reduce transplant shock.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Unpot the plant and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root growth.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker.
  • Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.

Planting Bulbs in Fall:

  • Spring-blooming anemones need partial shade and rich, moist soil.
  • Because your bulbs will probably be left where you plant them for several years, good soil preparation is highly desirable. Bulbs grow best in a light, well-drained soil, enriched with organic matter. Loose, crumbly soil beneath a bulb encourages good growth and promotes drainage; it is a good idea to prepare the soil at least a few inches deeper than the recommended planting depth.
  • It is a good idea to add fertilizer, such as Bulb-tone, when you prepare the soil. Be sure to mix the fertilizer into the soil so it does not come into direct contact with the bulbs.
  • The general rule for planting is to cover the bulb with soil to 3 times its vertical diameter. In very cold climates, or where the soil is very light and sandy, plant a little deeper. In heavy soils, or in areas with a high water table, plant slightly more shallowly. Plant all bulbs of a kind, when grouped together, at the same depth so they will bloom at the same time and attain the same height.
  • For planting clumps of bulbs in beds and borders, dig a hole large enough to hold all the bulbs in one group or drift. Set them upright at the bottom of the hole, tops up, and space properly. Press the bulbs into the soil and cover with the prepared soil to the recommended depth. You can also use a trowel to dig individual holes.
  • Anemones should be planted 1-2 inches deep, 2-3 inches apart.
  • After planting water thoroughly to settle the soil and to encourage the start of root growth. Sufficient moisture is vital to the health of your bulbs; lacking ample rain, it may be necessary to water new plantings once a week in fall.

How to Grow

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time.  Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry.  One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
  • Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary.  Good air movement is also important.
  • After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer such as Garden-tone, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
  • “Deadhead”, remove spent flower heads to encourage continuous flowering and prevent seed development.
  • Remove and discard foliage after a hard frost in fall.
  • Most anemones thrive for years without needing to be disturbed, but they can be dug and divided every four to five years for propagation or to keep the clumps from spreading too far.
  • Fall bloomers should be mulched regularly.

Growing tips

Growing Tips

  • Many gardeners do not cut back perennial flower seed heads in the fall, but wait until early spring before the new foliage appears. This provides food for wildlife over the winter.
  • For flower arranging, cut when blooms are 2/3 open.
  • Spring-blooming anemones combine well with shade-loving plants, such as ferns. They are lovely with small bulbs, including species tulips, grape hyacinths, and daffodils.
  • Fall-blooming anemones make beautiful additions to perennial beds and borders, where they can be combined with asters, ornamental grasses, snakeroots, monkshood, and boltonia.

Common Pests and Problems

Common Disease Problems

Botrytis: This fungus causes a grey mold on flowers, leaves, stems and buds. It thrives in cool wet weather conditions. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected plant parts, avoid watering at night and getting water on the plant when watering. Make sure plants have good air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Downy Mildew: This fungus causes whitish gray patches on the undersides and eventually both sides of the leaves. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Avoid overhead watering. Provide adequate air circulation, do not overcrowd plants. Do not work around plants when they are wet.

Powdery Mildew: This fungus disease occurs on the top of the leaves in humid weather conditions. The leaves appear to have a whitish or greyish surface and may curl. Burpee Recommends: Avoid powdery mildew by providing good air circulation for the plants by good spacing and keeping weeds under control. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Root Rots: A number of pathogens cause root rots of seedlings as well as mature roots. Burpee Recommends: Practice crop rotation and do not plant related crops in the same area for several years. Pull up and discard infected plants. Make sure your soil has excellent drainage. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Rust: A number of fungus diseases that cause rust colored spots on foliage and stalks. Burpee Recommends: Plant resistant varieties. Practice crop rotation. Remove infected plants. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Japanese Beetles: Burpee Recommends: Hand pick early in the morning into a bucket of soapy water.

Slugs: These pests leave large holes in the foliage or eat leaves entirely. They leave a slime trail, feed at night and are mostly a problem in damp weather. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick, at night if possible. You can try attracting the slugs to traps either using cornmeal or beer. For a beer trap, dig a hole in the ground and place a large cup or bowl into the hole; use something that has steep sides so that the slugs can’t crawl back out when they’re finished. Fill the bowl about ¾ of the way full with beer, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, the bowl should be full of drowned slugs that can be dumped out for the birds to eat. For a cornmeal trap, put a tablespoon or two of cornmeal in a jar and put it on its side near the plants. Slugs are attracted to the scent but they cannot digest it and it will kill them. You can also try placing a barrier around your plants of diatomaceous earth or even coffee grounds. They cannot crawl over these.

Thrips: Thrips are tiny needle-thin insects that are black or straw colored. They suck the juices of plants and attack flower petals, leaves and stems. The plant will have a stippling, discolored flecking or silvering of the leaf surface. Thrips can spread many diseases from plant to plant. Burpee Recommends: Many thrips may be repelled by sheets of aluminum foil spread between rows of plants. Remove weeds from the bed and remove debris from the bed after frost. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls.

Whitefly: These are small white flying insects that often rise up in a cloud when plants are disturbed or brushed against. Burpee Recommends: They are difficult to control without chemicals. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.


Anemone FAQs

How can I tell which side of an anemone bulb is up? Anemone bulbs can be a challenge in that way as they do not look anything like other fall planted bulbs. Look for any sign of roots, and plant that side down. The pointy side should go down for anemones. If in doubt, just plant them sideways, they are very good at finding the right way to grow.

Can I cut the foliage back after my spring blooming anemones bloom? No, leave the foliage to die back naturally. The bulbs need to store energy in order to come up next year, and they need the leaves to stay as long as possible in order to do this.

Are anemones aggressive spreaders? If they are happy anemones will spread. They will not destroy neighboring plants, but you may need to divide every couple of years to contain them.

Are anemones poisonous? Yes, anemones do contain a toxin that can irritate the skin, and be dangerous for pets to ingest. Use gloves when cutting flowers or working with plants that are actively growing.

Are Japanese anemones deer resistant? Yes, Japanese anemones are deer resistant.


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