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Anemones, which are a close relative of buttercup, share that plant’s natural charm. Bulb-type anemones naturalize easily in good garden soil, spreading their early spring cheer beneath still-bare trees and shrubs. These daisylike flowers feature thin, silky petals that quickly disperse in a breeze after flowering. A color range of crisp white, sky blue, and pinkish purple complements crocus and snowdrop early in the season before tulips grab the spotlight. Anemones are also a good choice for cutting and using in springtime bouquets. Plant extras so you can enjoy them indoors and out!
Worth noting: Fall-blooming anemone—also called Japanese anemone or windflower—brightens the late-season garden. This larger plant comes in many shades of whites and pinks with petals arranged in either single or double rows.
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Part Sun, Sun
6 to 12 inches
Anemone Bulb Colors
Anemones are somewhat small, spring-blooming bulbs, so plant several where you can enjoy their floral beauty up close. Site them along paths and walkways, as well as at the front of the border around a deck or patio. Another eye-pleasing option: Create mass plantings in other parts of the yard so you can enjoy dozens of anemones as a carpet of color in spring. They partner well with groundcovers like vinca, dianthus, and creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera).
You can also grow anemones in containers. If you're in an area where the containers won't freeze solid over winter, you can leave them outdoors. Otherwise plant the pots in fall, move them to a garage or shed, and then bring them out as temperatures warm in spring.
Whether in containers or the landscape, anemones have daisylike blossoms that complement the cup-shape flowers of crocus. And blue-purple Greek anemone puts on a vibrant show when planted alongside orange or yellow pansies.
Caring For Anemone
Plant anemone bulbs in early fall as soil temperatures begin to cool. You can continue planting through the autumn, right up until the soil freezes and you can't get a shovel in the ground. Anemones are easygoing when it comes to soil, but they reward you with best performance if planted in areas that are moist, well-drained, and rich in organic matter. If your soil has a high clay content, amend liberally at planting time with organic matter like peat moss, compost, or coconut coir.
Anemones bloom most profusely in full sun (at least six hours of direct sun per day) but tolerate part shade well. Because they go dormant in early summer after leafing out, they're ideal for beds and borders beneath deciduous trees, such as oaks and maples. You only have to worry about them getting enough sun until the foliage starts to turn yellow. Don't plant fall-blooming varieties in too much shade or plants can become leggy and flop. More shade than necessary also reduces the number of flowers. (And no one wants that.)
Easy-care anemones are deer- and rabbit-resistant, making them an excellent choice for woodland areas and other places frequented by these four-legged creatures. When anemone bulbs are happy, they reproduce quickly—forming beautiful clusters that add a carpet of springtime color to the yard. While not necessary, you can divide anemone clumps in spring as plants emerge. In shadier plantings, keep an eye out for powdery mildew, which can be a mild nuisance.