Well, well. It’s hard to believe this is already my fifth post of October! In many ways, October is the month that I’m doing the most things. I’m planting bulbs (and ordering, lol), looking for bargains to save money for spring, and trying to enjoy the last of the nice weather before things turn dark and muddy for the rest of the year. In this post, I’ll be talking about anemones!
Like many of the flowers that I’ve now come to love, I really wasn’t that impressed by anemones. I mean, yeah, they looked fine in pictures, but they seriously weren’t something that I was going to lose my mind over. As it turned out, I was once again mistaken – these gorgeous, vibrant colors are so refreshing to see when the weather is still chilly and the ground is lightly covered in snow.
I went into growing anemones pretty blindly, much like I’d done when I first tried ranunculus. Luckily anemones are much more forgiving when it comes to frost protection and overall willingness to bloom at the hands of an inexperienced and careless gardener.
As it turns out, there are several different types of anemones to be aware of. The first year I attempted to grow them, I inadvertently purchased a package of a. blanda. This type is much more hardy than the anemones we’ll be talking about today, good to zone 4. In fashion true to myself, I planted these at the wrong time (in the spring), and the things didn’t even sprout. Ugh, what a waste of time! There are also anemones that bloom in the fall, which while beautiful, I have absolutely no experience with. A. coronaria is that type that I really wanted to grow for cutflowers, only hardy to zone 6 (according to my label, at least).
In theory, my corms should be content living out in my garden without protection (something I’m trying this year), however, I wanted to make sure that I was successful. Tucking them away safely into the hoophouse was the option for me.
Like ranunculus, corms needed to be soaked before anything else. Anemone corms are much more robust than those of ranunculus. In fact, they remind me more of rocks than anything I would expect to start to sprout. With that in mind, I usually soak them about 12-16 hours. Aerating the water is optional, as I haven’t been able to notice a difference. Once the corms have soaked, I place each in their own cell of a tray and leave them outside. Conditions for growth seem to be ideal when the daytime temperatures are around 60-70F, and the night time temperatures around 40-50F (the first week of October, for me). Once things are nice and green, I transplant into weed barrier in the hoophouse. Since the plants are low growing, I like to plan ahead. Roots are quite tough, so it’s best that I get them out of trays as soon as possible and slap ’em right into their overwintering spot. I’m sure planting directly into the soil would work, but my hoophouse is usually still filled with dahlias before the first frost has hit. Anemones seem to be quite sensitive to rot, so I always make sure that things don’t stay too saturated. Trust me, rotten anemone corms are pretty disgusting – and accidentally grabbing them with your hands is even more gross. Did I mention I have a tendency to be a little careless?
Plants grow to a nice size until the weather gets pretty bitter, and when temperatures dip into the 20s consistently, I break out the frost blankets and cover them up. The first bud began to form last year around the end of January, and by March the hoophouse was ready to explode with big ol’ blooms – definitely a nice way to begin thawing out from the winter.
Anemones come in a nice range of color, though different cultivars can be somewhat difficult to find in retail. Last year, I had the pleasure of growing Sylphide, Mr. Fokker, and The Bride; which are usually readily available online. Like many flowers, anemones are toxic – so proceed at your own risk.
If you’re looking to try something different, and have a little extra room in your hoophouse, I definitely suggest that you give these beauties a try. They’re something that I’ll be growing for years and years to come.
Have you ever grown anemones? What were your experiences? Do you have a favorite? Feel free to comment! Hope you have a great day, much love!