A rich and varied group of plants ranging in size from alpine rock garden miniatures to tall Japanese anemones grown in borders; bloom extends from very early spring to fall, depending on species. Seldom browsed by deer.
Nontuberous anemones. The types described below have fibrous roots or creeping rhizomes or rootstocks, not tubers.
A. canadensis. MEADOW ANEMONE. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. A North American native that grows 12 ft. tall and spreads by creeping rhizomes. Its inch-wide, yellow-centered white flowers appear in twos and threes from the upper joints of divided leaves. Blooms profusely from late spring to early summer. Spreads vigorously; too invasive for small gardens. Needs partial shade and more water than most windflowers.
A.x hybrida (A. japonica, A. hupehensis japonica). JAPANESE ANEMONE. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Long-lived, fibrous-rooted perennial indispensable for fall flower color. Graceful, branching stems 24 ft. high rise from clump of dark green, three- to five-lobed leaves covered with soft hairs. Single or semidouble flowers in white, silvery pink, or rose. Slow to establish, but once started it spreads readily if roots are not disturbed. Space plants 2 ft. apart. May need staking. Mulch in fall where winters are severe. Increase by divisions in fall or early spring or by root cuttings in spring. Effective in clumps in front of tall shrubbery or under high-branching trees. Partial shade.
Many named selections of Japanese anemone are available, including the following.
'Honorine Jobert'. Single, white flowers on 2- to 3-ft. stems; blooms reliably in Lower South.
'Knigin Charlotte' ('Queen Charlotte'). Pink, single flowers bloom on 3-ft. stems.
'Margaret' ('Lady Gilmour'). Semidouble or double rose-pink flowers. 23 ft. stems.
'Prinz Heinrich'. Rosy red, semidouble flowers on 1- to 1-ft. stems.
'September Charm'. Single flowers in silvery pink on 2-ft. stems.
'Whirlwind'. Large semidouble white flowers on 3-ft. stems.
A. nemorosa. WOOD ANEMONE. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. European native to 1 ft. high with creeping rhizomes, deeply cut leaves, and inch-wide white (rarely pinkish or blue) spring flowers held above the foliage. Spreads slowly to make an attractive woodland ground cover. Many named selections exist: 'Allenii' has large blue flowers, and there are double forms. Partial or full shade.
A. quinquefolia. AMERICAN WOOD ANEMONE. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. American native. Attractive woodland ground cover like A. nemorosa; inch-wide, white flowers in spring. A. q. oregana is similar but may have blue or pink blooms. Partial shade.
A. sylvestris. SNOWDROP ANEMONE. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. European native grows to 1 ft. tall from a creeping rootstock. Fragrant, 1- to 3-in, yellow-centered, white flowers in spring, followed by cottony seed heads. Plants spread readily in damp, wooded locations. 'Grandiflora' has larger blossoms; 'Flore Pleno' is double flowered. Partial or full shade.
A. tomentosa. GRAPELEAF ANEMONE. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Vigorous, fibrous-rooted Tibetan native often sold as A. vitifolia 'Robustissima'. Foliage resembles grape leaves, grows in a spreading clump that gives rise to branching, 3-ft.-high stems bearing single, pink flowers in late summer, early fall. Allow 3 ft. between plants. Partial shade.
Tuberous anemones. The types listed here are native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean; best treated as annuals in rainy-summer or warm-winter climates, where they tend to be short lived. Tuberous anemones make great container plants.
A. blanda. GREEK ANEMONE, GREEK WINDFLOWER. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Tubers produce a spreading mat of finely divided, softly hairy leaves (clumps are wider spreading in colder climates). In spring, each 2- to 8-in. stem bears one sky-blue flower, 1112 in. across. Selections with 2-in. flowers on 10- to 12-in. plants include 'Blue Star', 'Pink Star', 'White Splendor', and purplish red 'Radar'. All work well as underplantings for tulips, as ground cover drifts under deciduous shrubs and trees, and naturalized in short grass. Soak tubers in water for several hours before planting. Needs partial shade and winter chill for best performance.
A. coronaria. POPPY-FLOWERED ANEMONE. Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11. This species is rarely seen in gardens; it has been replaced by showy, large-flowered hybrids for cutting and for spectacular spring color. Blooms are 112212 in. across, borne singly on 6- to 18-in. stems above finely divided leaves; come in shades of red and blue, as well as white. Among the most popular strains available are De Caen (single flowers) and St. Brigid (semidouble to double). Full sun or partial shade.
A. x fulgens. SCARLET WINDFLOWER. Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7. Grows 1 ft. tall and 6 in. wide. Spring flowers, to 2 in. across, are brilliant scartlet with black stamens. St. Bavo strain comes in an unusual color range, including pink and rusty coral. Same uses are for A. coronaria. Full sun or partial shade.
Plant tubers scarred side up (look for depressed scar left by base of last year's stem), setting them 12 in. deep and 812 in. apart in rich, light, well-drained loam. Or start in flats of damp sand; set out in garden when stems are a few inches tall. Keep soil moist during growth and bloom. Protect from birds until leaves toughen. In high-rainfall areas, excess moisture induces rot. Tuberous types best treated as annuals in much of the South, since they tend to be short lived where summers are rainy or winters are warm. Tuberous anemones make good container plants.