Anemone X hybrida (Japanese Anemone)
By Gwen Kilchher, Master Gardener
To say that Japanese Anemones (Anemone X hybrida), are one of the best fall flowers is an understatement! To me, they are the best. Here is a plant and flower with real charm, refinement, and sophistication, which blooms at a time when most others are entering winter dormancy.
The plant has a graceful habit, with branching stems from 1 to 5 feet tall, and is erect and stately. The foliage is glossy and brilliant. Flowers are more or less saucer-shaped and vary from 2 to 4 inches in diameter, depending upon the variety. There are single, semi double, and fully double forms. Color ranges from the purest frosty white through soft, rosy pinks to a dramatic carmine.
Anemones combine beautifully with other perennials along the border and in perennial beds. They may also be used in front of shrubs or under the canopy of trees. Plants are readily available in the local nurseries during fall when it's the best time to plant them.
Few such exquisite flowers can be so easily grown. Anemones thrive in all but the hottest and driest areas of the garden. They are very cold hardy so they will perform well in even the chilliest parts of the County. They thrive best in slightly shaded situations, such as an area that receives shade from the hot afternoon sun, or dappled shade all day. Good drainage is essential. The soil should be deeply prepared and organic matter incorporated. They are very late in breaking through the ground in the spring, and it often it isn't until late April that they show their flower heads. The degree of dormancy will depend on where you live and how severe a particular winter is. Mulch the plants and stake them if necessary.
Culture of Japanese Anemones is simple, once you are willing to meet their few requirements. If you provide them with regular watering during the growing months, they will reward you with larger flowers! They spread by underground runners and eventually make large clumps that can be divided and transplanted for more plantings.
A few varieties that you will be able to find at your favorite nurseries are: 'Andrea Atkinson', 'Honorine Jobert', 'Queen Charlotte', 'September Charm', and 'Whirlwind'.