Windflower (Anemone) – The Complete Guide

When colorful carpets of flowers gently sway in the wind, the anemone spreads its delicate magic.

The delicate flower thrives along mighty hedges or at the foot of deciduous trees with planting and care effort within manageable limits.

Planting Anemone

Anemone will thrive and bloom effortlessly if you plant the flower in March/April or August/September in the following manner:

  • Soak the bulb in water for 12-24 hours.
  • Dig small pits with a depth of 2-4 inches (6-10 cm) and a spacing between 4 and 10 inches (10 and 25 cm).
  • Insert the rhizome in the center, press the soil with your hands and water it.

When planting, pay attention to the polarity of the tuber. The tips of the shoots must be upward and only thinly covered with the substrate. A thin layer of mulch will help the rooting process.

Care Tips

The minimum care program of anemones is limited to the following aspects:

  • Water the anemone during dry periods without sprinkling the flowers and leaves.
  • Fertilize the plant with liquid fertilizer every 14 days from March until the end of the flowering period.
  • Mulch it with compost, grass clippings or nettle leaves.
  • Prune out wilted and withered foliage.
  • Prune the plant only when all leaves are retracted.

Anemone best thrives in all its spring-fresh glory when it is left alone. Therefore, avoid frequent raking and other disturbances.

Which Location is Suitable for Anemone?

Since even a mild breeze will cause the flower to tremble, the choice of location requires special consideration in terms of wind exposure.

In these locations, the anemone thrives without any problems:

  • Shady to semi-shady location
  • In sufficiently moist soil even in a sunny place
  • Sheltered from the wind, preferably under deciduous trees and along hedges

Avoid the proximity of anemones to plum trees and other Prunus plants, as both plant genera can harbor a common fungal pathogen that happily moves from one to the other.

What is the Right Planting Distance for Anemone?

For the dainty bush anemone, we recommend a planting distance of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm). If the flower functions as a flowering ground cover, place 25 plants per 10 square ft.

If you prefer the snowdrop windflower (Anemone sylvestris), which grows up to 16 inches (40 cm) high, the best distance to the neighboring plants is 10 inches (25 cm) or 16 plants per 10 square ft.

What Soil Does Anemone Need?

If you meet anemones in the wild, they thrive in airy, loose forest soil. The better the soil in the garden can match this natural soil quality, the more at home the flower will feel.

This is how the substrate should be:

  • Nutrient-rich and humus-rich
  • Loose, with unobstructed water drainage
  • Fresh-moist, without danger of waterlogging

What is the Best Time for Planting Anemone?

Planting time for the anemone is twice a year. You can choose to plant the tubers in March/April or August/September.

Planting in the sun-warmed soil of late summer proves conducive to rapid root development. The flower will be well established by the time winter knocks on the garden door.

When is Flowering Time?

The flower owes its popularity in no small part to its wide variety of cultivars with bloom times throughout the garden season. Prudently combined, the filigree flowers decorate the bed and the tub without interruption.

The following arrangement may serve as a source of ideas:

  • Balkan anemone (Anemone blanda): Flowering from February to March/April
  • Yellow anemone (Anemone ranunculoides): Flowering from March to April/May
  • Wood anemone (Anemonoides quinquefolia): flowering from May to June/July
  • Japanese anemone (Anemone hupehensis): Flowering time from July to September

Pruning Anemone Properly

On different occasions, it is useful to prune the flower. Freshly bloomed, cut the stems close to the ground as decorative vase ornaments.

Cutting off wilted flower heads extends the blooming period by weeks. Experienced gardeners will completely prune retracted foliage late in the year to allow the bulb to store all remaining nutrients as an energy reserve.

Watering Anemone

Water the flower regularly as soon as the soil dries. Under a canopy of foliage, this may also be necessary after a downpour.

If you cultivate anemones in a pot or balcony box, a daily thumb test in the morning will tell you if the plant needs watering.

Fertilizing Anemone Properly

Because spring-flowering anemones spread their roots just below the soil surface, using liquid fertilizer is beneficial in both the bed and the container.

Here’s how to do it right:

  • In the bed, fertilize every 2 weeks from March until the end of the flowering period with nettle or comfrey liquid manure.
  • Alternatively, sprinkle fertilizer granules according to dosage instructions and rain them in.
  • Feed the flower in the planter on the balcony with commercially available liquid fertilizer.

Ideally mulch with a thin layer of compost, grass clippings, or nettle leaves. Avoid working fertilizers into the soil to avoid damaging the delicate roots.


There are primarily two common fungal infections that can trouble an anemone. Both sooty mold and anemone rust manifest themselves in the form of brownish-black leaf spots. As a result, photosynthesis stops and the plant dies.

Causes of sooty mold are aphids, the control of which keeps the disease at bay. Anemone rust is a pathogen that alternates between drupe plants and anemones. Therefore, avoid locating anemone near plum and damson trees.


Aphids, which are omnipresent in the garden, do not stop at anemones.

At the first sign, act vehemently against the pests by treating the flower with the classic soap solution.

To do this, mix 1 tablespoon each of pure curd soap and alcohol in 1 liter of water, pour it into a spray bottle, and apply it to the plant.

Wintering Anemone

Anemones have stable winter hardiness, without which they would not be able to develop their early flowering.

Nevertheless, in harsh locations, the flower is grateful for a protective layer of leaves and brushwood from the first frost.

In the planter, the following measures are advisable every year:

  • Thickly wrap the pot or planter box with foil or jute.
  • Place the pot on polystyrene or wood in front of the south wall of the house.
  • Cover the substrate with leaves, straw, brushwood, or wood shavings.

Propagating Anemone

For the propagation of anemones, the multifaceted plant genus offers several methods to choose from:

  • Dividing the roots in spring or fall
  • Cut cuttings during flowering, plant them in small pots and allow them to root
  • Cut off root runners and place them in lean substrate
  • Sowing seeds after stratification of cold seedlings

The first three propagation techniques succeed easily in the hobby garden. Sowing, on the other hand, extends over a cultivation period of 12-14 months until the first flowering can be expected.

How to Report Anemone

Repotting anemones not only serves as a change of location but also provides the perfect opportunity for rejuvenation of the perennial.

Follow these steps to report the anemone:

  • A wisely chosen date is a day in early spring.
  • With the help of a digging fork, loosen the tuber along with the roots.
  • Push the spade under the plant to lift it out of the ground.
  • Divide the root ball into two or more segments.
  • Each segment should have at least 2 buds.

In the new location, plant the anemone as deep as before. Then water it with a good gulp of water.

Anemone in a Pot

The anemone is not a typical flower for pot culture, but still, you are welcome to try the experiment. As a substrate, it is best to use potting soil based on compost.

Place a few shards of clay on the bottom of the pot as drainage before filling in the soil. Be sure that the depth of planting stays largely the same as before.

How to properly care for the anemone in the pot:

  • Water regularly when the top few inches of the substrate feel dry.
  • Fertilize with liquid fertilizer every 14 days from March until the end of the flowering period.
  • Clean out withered flower heads.

At the end of flowering, it is beneficial to leave the foliage on the plant until it has completely withered.

Until the next season, place the pot in a semi-shaded, frost-free spot and make sure that the tuber does not dry out completely. In early spring, repot the anemone into a fresh substrate.

Is Anemone Poisonous?

The extensive genus of anemones belongs to the buttercups. Thus, there is a botanical relationship with highly poisonous plants, such as aconite or hellebore.

Although anemones have a lower toxicity level, they should not be grown in gardens where children and pets roam. The temptation to pick the flower and nibble on it is too strong.

What to Do if the Anemone Does Not Bloom

If an anemone planted the previous year simply does not want to bloom, put the site conditions to the test.

The flower prefers sunny to semi-shady light conditions. If it stands too dark, it will not bloom.

On the other hand, if an older perennial develops abundant leaf mass without presenting a flower, it is suffering from excess nitrogen.

Switch to organic fertilizer or selectively administer a phosphate-fortified preparation.

Brown Leaves

Anemone communicates its displeasure with neglect in care with brown leaves.

Examine the general conditions for the following triggers:

  • Drought stress: water regularly directly to the roots
  • Waterlogging: repot or replant in dry substrate
  • Anemone rust: relocate out of reach of stone fruit trees
  • Sooty mold: control aphids, treat with an approved fungicide

Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves on anemones indicate leaf chlorosis. This condition is caused by iron deficiency in the substrate.

The deficiency occurs when lime levels skyrocket, blocking the important nutrient. Waterlogging and cold, wet weather can also cause yellow leaves.

Check the pH value and fertilize with a special iron fertilizer, should the value be significantly above 7.

The Most Beautiful Anemona Varieties

Bracteata Pleniflora: Pretty bush anemone with white, green-edged semi-double flowers. The height of growth is 6 inches (15 cm).
Robinsoniana: Lavender-blue spring beauty with delicate habit. The height of growth is 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm).
Alba plena: Beautiful anemone with pure white, double flowers in April and May. The height is 8 to 18 inches (20-45 cm).
Anemonoides quinquefolia: The robust native anemone with a long flowering period from May to July/August. The height of growth is 6 inches (15 cm).
Anemone blanda ‘Charmer’: Splendid Balkan anemone with pink ray flowers from February/March. The growth height is 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm).