Height 15-30cm (6-12in)
Planting distance 10-15cm (4-6in)
Flowers late winter to
Sunny or partially shaded site
Tubers available in autumn and winter
Spring-flowering anemones have tuberous roots or corms. They are ideal for naturalizing in a semi-wild, shady or wooded corner of the garden, for introducing spring colour to a rockery, and for cutting.
Anemone blanda stands only 15cm (6in) high and looks enchanting in a semi-natural setting. If left un-disturbed, it will form an extensive carpet of white, pink or bluefrom late winter to early spring. It tolerates dappled shade so a good site for it is under a deciduous tree. Here the flowers provide ground interest before the tree leaves are fully out. For blue flowers select such varieties as ‘Blue Pearl’, ‘Violet Pearl’ or ‘Atrocaerulea’. For white flowers there’s ‘White Splendour’, and for pink flowers ‘Pink Star’. Mixtures are also available. Anemone coronaria, sometimes called the poppy anemone, is the red, blue, cream or purple species often seen in florists’. Two strains are widely available: ‘De Caen’ which produces up to 20 single saucer-shaped flowers in a season, and ‘St Brigid’, a double or semi-double strain. Mixtures and named varieties of single colours are easily obtained. All grow about 30cm (1ft) high and are suitable for the front of a border. Anemone x fulgens, a hybrid, has striking scarlet flowers and stands 30cm (1ft) high; it forms an eye-catching sight throughout spring. Anemone nemorosa, the 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 flowers are naturally white tinged pink, but lavender ones such as ‘Robinsoniana’ and blue forms such as ‘Royal Blue’ are some-times available.
Plant the tubers 5cm (2in) deep and 10-15cm (4-6in) apart in any rich, well-drained soil from early to mid autumn. A. coronaria and A. x fulgens do best in sunny sites while A. blanda and A. nemorosa prefer partial shade. With succession planting every three months, A. coronaria can be in flower for most of the year, protected with cloches during the winter. A. coronaria and A. x fulgens deteriorate quickly and should be replaced after a couple of years.
When the top growth dies down in late summer lift the corms and separate and replant the offsets.
Pests and diseases
Watch out for and remove caterpillars and cut-worms eating the leaves, flower buds and stems of established plants. Few pests and diseases attack species anemones, but ‘De Caen’ and ‘St Brigid’ can be susceptible to a rust disease.