Japanese anemones are wonderful late-flowering perennials that will fill your garden with floaty flowers from August until October, just as other blooms are fading fast. They also make great cut flowers if you want to admire them indoors to keep your house filled with garden blooms.
Attractive, dark green leaves provide excellent ground cover which hides bare soil and then as the summer garden begins to fade, up shoot tall, branched stems carrying sprays of saucer-shaped, open blooms in pink or white, loved by pollinators.
Consisting predominantly of the species Anemone hybrida and Anemone hupehensis, once established, Japanese anemones are easy to grow.
Japanese anemones thrive in partially shaded spots although some varieties will tolerate full sun, but they are an ideal choice for growing in woodland locations or beneath the shade of trees.
They prefer soil to be moist in summer but not too wet in winter or they start to struggle, so a well-drained soil is ideal. Once the roots have established, they will only need watering during prolonged dry spells.
Cut back the stems once the flowers have faded, and tidy up old or dead leaves in spring followed by a feed and a mulch, to set them up for another year of blooming.
Japanese anemones have a tendency to spread, so clumps can be lifted and divided every few years in autumn or spring to keep them under control, giving you more plants for free to plant elsewhere in the garden or to give away.
Varieties to try
Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’
A classic Japanese anemone, with white, single, cup-shaped flowers, tinged with pink on the underside of the petals, and contrasting yellow centres. This elegant perennial which can grow to a metre tall is perfect for brightening up a shady corner.
Anemone × hybrida ‘September Charm’
Growing to around 75cm, with slightly cupped flowers, ‘September Charm’ opens in late summer with pale, pink flowers with a slightly deeper pink beneath.
Anemone × hybrida ‘Whirlwind’
With semi-double, white flowers, formed around yellow stamens, A. ‘Whirlwind’ is a hardy perennial that produces blooms abundantly above large, dark, divided leaves.
Anemone hupehensis var. japonica ‘Splendens’
A relatively compact variety at around 60cm in height, with single, pink flowers, this is a good choice for growing in containers or at the front of a sunny border.
Despite their name, Japanese anemones are actually native to China. They were first discovered by European plant hunters in Japan, giving rise to their mistaken identity.