Flowers

Anemone Flower Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Windflower” Plants

Complete guide to Anemone Plants for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Windflower”
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When spring starts to show its colors, we cannot stop but think about the warmth and happiness that await us just around the corner. And what better way to begin this journey than by filling our garden or home with cute flowers? These plants are among our favorites and they will surely find a place on your “to buy” list of this year!

Anemone, otherwise known as windflower, is a genus that contains exactly 63 species of perennial flowering plants. The delicate companions from this genus are native to all subtropical and temperate regions worldwide, except Antarctica and Australia. Due to their lovely appearance and easy-going style, Anemones make for excellent ornamental houseplants both indoors and outdoors. They can bring a warm dash of color to any landscape decoration and they are also a popular element in many wedding bouquets.

Curious to learn more about growing, watering, and propagating Anemones a.k.a. Windflowers? Keep reading our article.

About Anemone Flowers

  • The most common varieties of Anemones in cultivation include A. blanda, A. coronaria, A. hupehensis var. japonica, and A. sylvestris.
  • Although Anemones have different negative connotations in the Eastern world, such as illness and death, they are more appreciated in other regions. In Western culture, it is believed that these plants protect people from bad luck and evil.
  • Besides their ornamental purposes, Anemone plants played a big part in various traditions and cultures and still have several different meanings worldwide. In Christianity, for example, red Anemone flowers represent Christ’s blood after he was crucified. In the Victorian language of flowers, however, these beauties were a symbol of any kind of forsaken love.
  • Another interesting fact about these plants is their connection with the Greek language and mythology. Their name is derived from the word “anemos”, which is the Greek for “the wind” (hence the “windflower” common name). But this does not end here! Anemones have a symbolic relationship with unfading or undying love, coming from the well-known myth about Aphrodite and Adonis.
  • According to the legend, Adonis was attacked in the forest by Aphrodite’s former lover, Ares, in a jealous rage. Aphrodite tried to save Adonis, covering his wound with nectar and rushing him out of the forest, but his soul left the body eventually and descended into the underworld. When returning into the forest, Aphrodite noticed a path full of crimson Anemones sprouted in every spot where drops of nectar or Adonis’s blood fell.
  • In traditional medicine, many herbalists used Anemone plants as a treatment for headaches and gout. They are no longer used as herbal remedies due to their toxicity.
  • Some Anemone varieties that have purple flowers can be boiled to prepare a light green dye. This product is used as a colorful fixative for yarns, textiles, or even Easter eggs.
  • Anemone plants do well in well-lit areas, but can also have a great time when exposed to partial shade. Although not very frost-tolerant, they thrive in mid-cool temperatures.
  • Spring-bloomers have insignificant foliage and will look fantastic without any extra pruning. Taller fall-blooming varieties, however, will require pruning after the first frost to give them a neat overall look.
  • Dogs and cats are curious by nature and are most likely to ingest parts of these plants. Anemones are more poisonous to pets than humans, so you should grow these flowers in a location where your furry companions cannot reach them.
Anemone Flowers
Anemone Flowers

Anemones Features: An Overview

  • Anemones belong to the buttercup or crowfoot Ranunculaceae family, among other delicate members including Aconitum, Clematis, Delphinium, and Thalictrum.
  • Depending on the species and variety, Anemone plants can reach from 6 inches to 4 feet (15 cm to 1.2 m) in height. If you grow anemones in pots, they will remain pretty small.
  • Their foliage consists of long and upright or prostrate stems that come with simple or compound leaves, having undivided, parted, or lobed leaf blades. The plants also have a pair of slender basal leaves.
  • During their blooming period, in spring or autumn, Anemone plants produce slightly large, poppy-like flowers that can appear individually or in pairs of two.
  • Their beautiful blossoms have a generous color palette and stunning colorful mixes. Anemones exhibit various shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, blue, white, and even green.
  • When the flowering season comes to an end, Anemone bloomings are followed by tight clusters of fruits. They are ovoid to obovoid achenes and some species can also have feathery hairs attached.
  • Thanks to their wide range of tints, Anemones can be great companions to species like Tulip, Lily of the Valley, Bleeding Heart, Narcissus, and other flowering plants that bloom in spring or fall.

Growing Anemones

Anemone plants grow at their best when they receive at least half a day of bright and direct light both indoors and outdoors. However, some varieties like Japanese Anemone will be more vigorous and bloom sporadically if you grow them in locations with partial shade. If you live in a region with hot and dry climates, it is best to grow these plants in a spot where they can be protected from harsh afternoon sunlight.

Temperature-wise, Anemones can be a little picky, but you should not worry too much about it! These flowers do well in daytime temperatures that range from 58 to 65 °F (14-18 °C) and 42 to 50 °F (6-10 °C) at night. The optimal temperatures for some Anemone species to bloom nicely can be lower than 54 °F (12 °C). Be careful with cooler temperatures, though, because these plants are not so frost-tolerant!

Anemones are mostly pest-free, but they can be occasionally bothered by foliar nematodes that feed on their leaves. These intruders can cause distorted foliage and blossoms, so this is usually the first sign of infection. You can treat your plants by removing them and all plant material from the soil, then allow the substrate to heat on its own under the sun for a long time. The heat can help you get rid of nematodes and transplant your healthy plants back into the soil.

Japanese anemone
Japanese anemone

Planting Anemones

Many gardeners have a secret trick for thriving Anemone plants − the dried roots (bulbs or tubers) must be soaked in lukewarm water overnight before planting. This process will soften them, ensuring better growth and even blooming. And if you live in a region with cooler temperatures or harsh winters, it is recommended you plant these flowers in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.

Although Anemone plants are not very fussy when it comes to the soil pH, they will have the time of their life in any slightly acidic soil. Moreover, as long as the soil has excellent drainage, these beauties can grow just fine in any type of commercial potting mix. Before planting, you can add some leaf mold, compost, or any other organic matter to improve the quality of the substrate.

In general, Anemones are ‘independent grown-ups’ that do not need extra fertilizers to show nice results. But if you want to give your adorable plants a nutrient boost, you can surely do so! For optimal results, feed your spring-bloomers in autumn or fall-bloomers in spring with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer once every year.

Watering Anemones

If you plan on growing Anemone plants outdoors, in regions with frequent rainfalls, they will do just fine without extra irrigation. These babies love moisture and soil that is constantly damp but will not appreciate any soggy conditions or waterlogging. In hot or dry climates, however, your plants may need more frequent watering than usual and over-watering is not an option.

To adopt a suitable watering routine for your plants, make sure you always check the soil in-between waterings. When the growing medium feels dry to the touch, water your thirsty Anemones slowly, allowing the substrate to absorb as much water as needed.

Some Anemone varieties, such as A. nemorosa, come along with particular water demands. In midsummer, these plants end their growth cycle and die. Over the next months, they will not require supplemental water until they regrow in autumn.

white anemone flower
white anemone flower

Propagating Anemones

What can be more relaxing than spending a nice day in the warm and friendly presence of your beloved flowers? And, as usual, every experience is better when shared with family and friends! Anemone plants can make for companions for you or your beloved ones and, luckily, you can propagate them very easily through division.

Although various Anemone species come along with different root structures, we have great news! This method works the same for all and all you have to do is digging up your plants, divide their roots into as many pieces as possible, then replant them wherever you want in spring.

Many gardeners also prefer to divide the roots in autumn and store them over winter before replanting in spring. This is a good idea if you are growing your Anemones in a garden that tends to experience moist soil during the winter. If you choose this method, do not forget to soak the roots overnight before planting!

For optimal results, make sure you inspect each piece of root and discard those that are soft, rotten, or diseased. Plant the tiny roots in a sunny location and provide them with water regularly to maintain the soil damp. Anemones grow at a pretty fast pace, so they will show signs of growth after a few weeks without any trouble on the way.

In Conclusion

Plants with eye-catching flowers and cultural importance, Anemones are exactly what all respectable gardeners need in their collection. When it comes to their growing requirements, these plants come with very few demands and can be a nice choice for beginner growers. And with their vast color palette, you will find the perfect variety in the blink of an eye!

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Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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