How to Grow Anemone Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Japanese Anemone and Windflower

The common names for the hardy bulb or perennial Anemone include Japanese anemone, September charm, Pasque flower, snowdrop windflower, and windflower.

They typically flower from early spring through to the late autumn; this is dependent upon the species as Anemone is a very diverse gender.


Description of Anemone

Anemone is a very diverse group of plants and different species can grow from 15 cm to 120 cm in height (6 to 48 inches).

Anemone picture
G.A. Cooper @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database. Smithsonian Institution, Department of Systematic Biology-Botany.

As a consequence of this diversity Anemone flowers may be nearly any colour, the exception being yellow. They are often planted in groups in borders.

Commonly Grown Anemone Species

Anemone coronaria

Anemone coronaria
Anemone coronaria (Blue Poppy Anemone / Spanish Marigold / Windflower), photograph by Bernard Spragg. NZ; CC.

Anemone blanda

Anemone blanda
Anemone blanda (Balkan Anemone / Grecian windflower / Winter windflower), picture by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

Anemone Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Windflower: Greek, Grecian, Snowdrop Riverside. Anemone: Wood, Chinese, Japanese, Carolina, Poppy, Drummond’s, Woodland. Thimbleweed, Prairie Crocus, September charm, Pasque flower.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial. Bulbs/Tubers.
  • Height: 6 to 40 inches (15 to 120 cm).
  • Native: Temperate regions.

  • Growing Region: Zones 4 to 9.
  • Flowers: Species dependent: early spring to late autumn.
  • Flower Details: Diverse genus with flowers in most colors, except yellow. Umbels or cymes of two to nine flowers. Up to 27 sepals, but non-existent petals in most species. Cup-shaped. Fragrant.
  • Fruit: Ovoid. Tightly clustered achenes. Feathery.
  • Foliage: Basal leaves. Long petioles. Upright or prostrate. Toothed or entire leaf margins. Maple-like. Dark-green.

  • Sowing/planting:
    Seeds: Mix seeds in a moist growing medium. Stratify by refrigeration for two or three weeks. Seeds should then be sown into flats in the spring. Next sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist. Once seedlings emerge transplant them to their final location (early spring or late in autumn depending on species). Space at 6 to 16 inches (15—40 cm) depending on species size.

    Tubers/corms: 3 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm). Mid-autumn. Supply mulch.
  • Requirements and care: Partial shade for best results, can tolerate full sunlight (morning sun for best results). Light soil. Loam enriched with manure (dig in below tubers). Plant close to a wall in colder regions. Regular watering. Mulch with leaf matter for the winter. Do not let soil become water saturated over the winter. May become floppy if leaves do not receive enough light. Protect from strong winds. Cut tall plants back to half size at the start of summer. Propagate: by dividing in the spring. Or the middle of summer to early autumn for spring blooming container grown plants.

  • Family: Ranunculaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Aconitum, Adonis, Clematis, Consolida, Eranthis, Helleborus, Nigella, Ranunculus, and Trollius.
  • Miscellaneous: Named from the Greek word anemōnē: Daughter of the Wind. According to Greek mythology the flower was created by Venus, who sprinkled nectar on the blood of Adonis, her dead lover.
    Harvest flowers by cutting in the morning when the bloom is still closed, once they are placed in a vase of water the flowers will open.

How to Grow Windflower and Japanese Anemone species

It is best to initially sow windflowers and their relatives, such as September Charm Anemone, in moistened soil within a plastic bag, and then imbibe the seeds for three weeks at four degrees Celsius in a fridge.

Next, plant the containers in a shady location under glass. Once a seedling has sprouted it should be transplanted to the desired position with a spacing of 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) for small species, and of 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 inches) for larger species

If planting corms, they should be planted at a depth of 10 to 12 cm (4 to 5 inches) in the middle of autumn.

Anemone prefers to be grown partly shaded area, but is able to withstand full sunlight.

The soil should not be poor. Ideally it should be fertilised with either humus or rotten manure with a pH level in the range of 6 to 7.5.

Anemone requires between two and twenty five weeks to germinate, depending on the species and the time of planting.

If starting seedlings off indoors, it is best to plant them out in either the early spring or late autumn.

Caring for Anemone in the Garden

Anemone require to be watered regularly, and should be mulched in the summer to maintain cool soil temperatures.

In harsh area it may be necessary to bring in the plants during the winter before putting out again in the spring.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Anemone plants. You may also enjoy the following Species specific Anemone Gardener's HQ growing guides: Anemone coronaria, Anemone sylvestris, Anemone blanda, and Anemone hupehensis.