The autumn anemones are part of the genus anemones (Anemone). However, this is not a single species, but a group of perennials. Like all anemones, also they are Ranunculacea. More than a hundred years ago only the wild species of the anemones hupehensis, A. tomentosa and A. japonica, which belong to the autumn anemones, were available in the nurseries. Today numerous new varieties have been created by crossing the three game species.
Appearance and growth
When the first autumn anemones were brought to Europe from faraway Japan and China in the 19th century, the triumphal march of a robust and easy-care shrub began, which today is an indispensable part of the late summer and autumn garden. Because when many other perennials slowly fade in the bed, the delicate beauty with the filigree blossoms has its big appearance. Early flowering varieties open their buds as early as July, while some later varieties do not start until September, but then bring colour into the garden until October. Autumn anemones bloom from simple to full, from pure white to pale pink to deep pink and crimson. Among the oldest and most proven varieties are the white flowering, half-filled ‘Honorine Jobert’ and the simple, pink ‘Robustissima’. Depending on the species and variety, they grow to between 60 and 160 centimeters. The foliage is three-part pinnate and slightly hairy.
Location and soil
All types of autumn anemone thrive best in the sun or in light shade. It is also important that the sun does not come exclusively from one side when choosing the right planting place, as the plant, especially the flowers, otherwise only grows in this direction. As a general rule, the brighter the location, the more vigorous the anemones are and the more humid they are, the more the plants tolerate the sun. Pink and pink varieties are somewhat less demanding than white ones. For the anemones to be well supplied, the soil must be rich in humus and nutrients. The soil should be kept moderately moist, especially in summer, because anemones do not tolerate dryness or waterlogging.
Autumn anemones can be easily combined with other perennials – there are no limits. Dream couples are created in particular with high-contrast bedding partners. The bright white autumn anemone, for example, can be easily combined with the bright red foliage of the azalea. The Patagonian Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) forms a fine flower-rich net, which winds its flowers and stems around the anemone. Tip: Make sure that the plant partners have different flowering times. This ensures that the flowers begin to bloom in spring and that the bed remains bright in various colours until late autumn.
Planting and care
The best planting time for the late summer bloomer is in spring. Since the magnificent flowers sit on very thin stems and some varieties can grow up to 1.60 metres high, it is advisable to support the plants with a perennial ring. So the plant is not pressed down when it rains. Once properly grown, the autumn anemone is almost indestructible and spreads rapidly across its long, thin roots in the bed. If you give it the necessary space, the lovely perennial will thank you with a rich blossom. Anemones are long-lived, but tend to spread over time. It can be divided in the spring in order to reduce the size and at the same time maintain the offspring. Thus, the plant has sufficient time over the summer to develop new roots and flowers again in the same year. There you go: Use a spade to generously cut out the bales, divide them up, replant the individual parts and water them.
As soon as autumn anemones have faded, the perennials form striking seed clusters, which are beautiful to look at with their white tufts of fuzz until late autumn. There are small black seeds in the tufts, which are easy to sow. However, it can happen that the offspring then does not have the same characteristics as the mother plant. If you want to preserve plants that are true to the variety, you can cut them from the long foothills in autumn. Simply uncover the roots, cut into pieces three to five centimeters long, stick vertically, cover with soil about two centimeters high and pour on.
The perennial from Asia is well ingrown and completely hardy, but it may take one to two years until then. Therefore it should be protected in the first winters – especially when planting in autumn – with a cover of brushwood or leaves.
Diseases and pests
Autumn anemones are almost resistant to disease. Infestation with aphids can, however, lead to sooty mildew. You can recognize this in the form of black coloured leaves. If you cannot remove the aphids in time, the affected black spotted leaves of the autumn anemone should be cut back. Powdery mildew and nematodes can also occur occasionally. However, if the leaves turn yellow, this is not due to pest or disease infestation, but to too alkaline soil.
In an interview with our store editor Dieke van Dieken, plant doctor René Wadas reveals his tips against aphids.Credits: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera and Editing: Fabian Primsch
Autumn anemones are now available in various shapes, colours and sizes. So that you don’t lose the overview, the our store team would like to introduce you to four varieties that are particularly recommendable.
‘Serenade’ (Anemone tomentosa)
A vigorous autumn anemone bred in 1960 that can grow up to 1.50 metres high. It is undemanding and thrives in sunny to semi-shady places on almost all soils. Its old pink flowers grow to about six centimeters in size and have a beautiful yellow stamens.
‘Pamina’ (A. Japonica hybrid)
Pamina’ is a particularly rich flowering autumn anemone. It forms bright, semi-double, dark pink flowers with strong yellow stamens. These become up to five centimeters tall. Panima’ grows very compactly and grows between 60 and 90 centimeters high.
Whirlwind (A.-Japonica Hybrid)
The autumn anemone ‘Whirlwind’ is characterised by its propeller-like twisted, pure white flowers. These are about six centimeters tall and have up to 25 narrow, slightly rolled pentals. The petals of the outer wreath are often greenish in colour. Whirlwind’ reaches a height between 80 and 120 centimeters. It blooms from the beginning of September to the end of October.
Praecox’ (A. hupehensis)
The autumn anemone ‘Praecox’ is a particularly early flowering variety which already shows its flowering splendour in July. It grows up to 80 centimeters high and was rated “excellent” for its joy in flowering in perennial sifting. Their pink-coloured flowers reach a diameter of about six centimeters, usually forming five petals (rarely up to eight).
Autumn anemones in the our store-Shop
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.