How to grow Anemones

Anemones, the star of Spring Bouquets

Flowering throughout the spring, these gorgeous blooms are firm a favorite with floral designers and our brides.

We are all excitedly unwrapping our parcels of little brown Anemone corms.

These florist grade F1 Anemones have to be hand pollinated making them a little more expensive than the smaller flowering de Caen strain.

Anemone Black & White

When they arrive, you parcel of little brown Anemone corms will be in a dormant state, dried and dehydrated. Just like Ranunculus we start by giving them a ‘bath’ to re-hydrating them.

I’ll add some pictures shortly but for now here are the Ranunculus images…

If saving some for the Spring then leave them in this dehydrated state. 

Starting Anemones

Once re hydrated they need to be pre-spouted straight away so I tend to do this in batches…

How to grow Ranunculus How to grow Ranunculus

You can keep the rest of your corms cool and dry and even place them in the bottom of the fridge to hold them for longer before ‘starting them’. I’ve kept corms for as long as a year in the ‘salad crisper’ of my fridge (no lower than 4 degrees).

You can plant your Anemone’s either in the Autumn or the Spring.

We find that Autumn grown plants bloom up to 6 weeks earlier than Spring grown corms but we do give them a light cloche or grow them in the polytunnel to give added protection from the worst of the winter weather.

Anemones are frost hardy to -10c but flower spikes will be damaged if frozen (in the UK even Autumn started corms won’t flower until April when temperatures have usually recovered) If you are in any doubt sow in the Spring.

Anemone Black & White

Why not stagger your corms and do a trial to see what works best for your location?

We soak our corms at room temperature for around 3 hours

(a full step by step ‘soak along’ will be starting on Instagram stories once you have received your order)

The advice is to ‘leaving the water running just slightly during the process to help provide extra oxygen’ we don’t do this as we don’t like to waste water and find that just adding a splash more water to the bowl once or twice has not caused any problems.

As the corms soak, you will be thrilled to notice that they plump up to twice their original size.

Now these precious corms (along with Ranunculus) are like caviar to Squirrels and Mice so we pre-sprout ours indoors rather putting out a ‘Hamper’ for the wildlife!!

Presprouting the corms before planting will also give plants a jump start (just like Sweet peas) and you’ll have flowers a few weeks earlier.

To presprout, fill a flat-bottom seed tray halfway full of moist compost or as I prefer to do use the large 15 cell Plant Trays.

I plant one corm to each cell, this is just my personal preference so I don’t have to rush to move them to their final planting position and I often ‘over winter’ in these trays…

Leave labelled tray’s in a cool place (4-10 degrees is ideal) where rodents can’t reach for 10-14 days.  Be careful that you don’t overwater at this stage.

You are most likely to lose them if you over-water so keep the soil moist but not wet.

Once plants show signs of growth you can move them to their final positions or leave them to develop in their trays until the weather improves – I prefer to do this as it further insures against the rodents!


Soil should be prepared to a good loamy tilth and weed free, chickweed for example can smoother Anemones so hand weeding may be required from time to time…

I like to add a good multipurpose fertiliser to the soil ahead of planting (for more information on click here for my resource on Planting)  

Plant 22cm apart. Plants are shallow rooted so will do well in a pot if given the same spacing. I’ve found that reducing their room to grow results in smaller blooms.

A properly spaced crop produces 10 stems per plant (15-20 stems are possible for a well grown crop).

Weather protection is helpful especially for an Autumn started crop. Neil’s growing frames have proved ideal to give you an idea.

Spring started crops need less protection as they bloom as soon as the weather improves.

If leaving them in their trays for an extended period apply a seaweed feed when the plants are actively growing.

Once temperatures plunge the plants will stop growing and suspend until the Spring.

During very cold periods where the temperature dips below freezing, cover the plants with a layer of Horticultural fleece (frost cloth) and don’t water them.

Anemone Black & White

Keep an eye on those planted in Tunnels (Hoops Houses) the temperature can soar on fine days and they don’t have the benefit of rain so open doors whenever the conditions allow to give ventilation.

Anemones are a ‘cool weather crop’. Hot dry weather can cause the corms to become dormant, which looks a bit like they are dying but actually just shutting down for high summer.

Anemone Black & White

Autumn planted corms flower in early spring (April for us) and continue steadily for approx 8 weeks.

Anemone Black & White

Spring planted Anemones normally starts to flower about 90 days after planting.

Stagger sowing for extended blooming!

Anemones have a brilliant vase life often exceeding 10 days. Harvest stems at ground level being careful not to damage immature bud’s. Flowers should not be picked until petals are well developed.

Pick in the early morning before the flowers open in the daylight and move to cool shed. Brides love them in their bouquets!

For home gardeners (often myself included) don’t worry too much and just pick when they look ‘pretty’ you have a vase to do!

Anemone Black & White

Lots of love

Zoe x

Zoe Woodward, Swan Cottage Flowers © Ferri Photography

For step by step videos and fun growing along in real time follow us on Instagram 

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