Looking to add a long-lasting, naturalistic splash of colour to your garden? Get to know the eyecatching Anemone, plus discover where to buy Anemones from independent UK sellers.
hog the limelight, there's a delicate pool of white flowers unfurling in that first burst of post-winter warmth. The Anemone (common name Windflower Plant): an underrated harbinger of spring, but no less beautiful to witness while out walking in woodland. It's a sight which gardeners are increasingly looking to play with, particularly as our gardens get wilder and the colour scheme of the moment
is 50 shades of white.
Shop for white flowers on Candide:
Some flowers pack a punch, but their beauty is short-lived. Others, like the Anemone, are more subtle and generous with their blooms. The genus can be staggered for a long flowering season, with varieties putting on a floral display in spring and late into summer and autumn, meaning cut flowers
galore! They're hardy too and a great low maintenance plant for beginners
. Once established, they will bloom in abundance, whether grown in partial shade or a sunny spot, so long as the soil is moist.
For the most part, these easy to grow perennials
have a shallow, cup or saucer-shaped blooms, which range from the demure, classic look of the Wood Anemone (5-8 paperwhite petals surrounding golden anthers) to the joyously indulgent, blushed lilac ruffles of ‘Frilly Knickers’.
Don’t be fooled by those dainty petals (which are technically sepals) swaying atop spindly stems; the Anemone can be a real show stopper. Think big blousy A. Coronaria 'Bordeaux', which makes an excellent cut flower) or the barbie pink Anemone huphensis var. japonica, which will make your borders pop.
But the Anemone is happy to play supporting cast too, breezily linking together a scheme, which could happily consist of Ferns
for structure, alongside a host of spring flowering bulbs
and woodland plants (Tulips, Daffodils, Lily of the Valley and Bleeding Heart to name a few). A variety such as Anemone Blanda (a prolific self-seeder) works well in woodland style garden or rockery. It will naturalise quickly, giving you a carpet of blooms without you having to lift so much as a finger (or fork).
How to care for Anemone
There are more than 120 species of Anemone. Broadly we can split them into shade-loving wood Anemones, spring bulb Anemones and the long flowering Japanese Anemones.
As flowers go, Anemones aren't too fussy. Provide moist, hummus-rich, well-draining soil
, and they'll keep those blooms coming. Overly wet soil, however, can cause issues. Damp, humid conditions with poor air circulation can lead to Powdery Mildew
, Downy Mildew
and Leaf Spot
. So save your waterlogged or flood-prone areas for flowering plants such as Hosta or Iris
How to plant Anemone bulbs
When it comes to replanting your Anemones, you'll notice some have rather nobbly-looking bulbs or tubers while others are rhizomatous. Find out the differences between them below:
Wait until the flowers and foliage have gone over before dividing your plants, as the leaves will feed and nourish the bulb. Remember, says Alan Down, bulbs need 12 weeks after flowering to “fatten up” for next year.
Replant them in autumn for the best results. Remember to soak the bulbs or tubers overnight if they're looking a little dry.
We’ve listed some popular varieties below. Which is your favourite?
Spring flowering Anemones
Late summer flowering Anemones
Autumn flowering Anemones
Looking for plants with a long flowering season? Blooming from late summer and into autumn, the Japanese Anemone is that guest that arrives just as everything is petering out. Still, they manage to reignite the party with their carefree nature and photogenic looks. Japanese Anemones might be latecomers, but they’re worth hanging around for. The Japanese Anemone is great for beginners, thanks to its knack for thriving in the sun or shade.
Did you know?
The Anemone is a perennial plant belonging to the Ranunculaceae family. They're often confused with poppies. To confuse things further, there is a Poppy Anemone cultivar. However, true poppies belong to the Papaveraceae family.
The name means ‘daughter of the wind’, which in Greek mythology stems from Anemoi, the gods of the four winds. It's commonly thought they were so named "because some of the species flourish in open places exposed to the wind" (Plant Lore, Legends and Lyrics, 1884). Elsewhere, the name signifies "the trembling of the flower before the blasts of spring" (A Modern Herbal, 1931).
Unlike some varieties, the Woodland Anemone spreads very slowly by rhizomes and can be a sign you've stumbled across ancient woodland.
The Wood Anemone, in particular, is a hit with hoverflies
and is recommended as a top wildflower for bees by the Woodland Trust, providing food for spring’s early arrivals (bumblebee queens and solitary bees).
While cultivated double blooms are lovely to look at, they don't provide food for pollinators, so make sure you plant plenty of native, single flower varieties too.
According to British fairy lore, Wood Anemones are the preferred pitstop of fairies, who are said to sleep and shelter in the buds, which close in poor weather and open in the sunshine.
The Anemone has a mixed reputation. In ancient Egypt and Chinese culture, the wood anemone was considered an emblem of illness and death (it is, in fact, poisonous to humans and animals), while the Romans considered them a good luck charm. Culpeper wrote that the leaves are a cure for leprosy, while Campbell-Culver praises A. Coronaria as "possibly the first introduced flower to be grown for its beauty alone." (The Origin of Plants, 2001)
While we can't attest to their medicinal properties or capacity to bring good luck, we can vouch for their ability to lift the spirits and feed the bees with their well-timed blooms, whether in a woodland setting or swaying in your back garden breeze.
Where to buy Anemones
Buy Chelsea Flower Show-quality Anemones from Hardy's Plant Nursery here
Not sure which variety of Anemone you have? Use the Candide plant identifying tool on our app.
Is your patch bursting with flower power? Let us know what you're growing by using the hashtag #ShowUsYourBlooms
This article is part of Candide's Festival of Flowers, an online floral take over, aiming to unite the nation in a joyful celebration of gardens, plants, pollinators and people! Read more from the series below.