Happy Spring, everyone! It is an exciting week as we begin to fulfill our Spring Flower Subscription. On the farm, even with nights below freezing; flowers continue to bloom, leaves continue to unfurl; and tulips, anemones, and ranunculus continue to mature. This post is all things anemone as I dive into these happy spring flowers.
I started growing anemones two years ago; and, from the beginning, I appreciated how easy they were to grow for me and how they provided a spring flower that can be used in bouquets. They do well in our cold weather and over winter like champs, making them an indispensable flower for late winter and early spring.
Care and Maintenance
Anemones grow from corms. They start out as hard and dry acorn-looking things. After hydrating them for a few hours, the corms expand. You do not have to soak your corms ahead of time. You can plant them straight into the field and let the rain do its work. However, I like to soak and start the corms to make sure all the plants I place in the field are viable.
In the fall, I soak the corms in bulb sacks made out of plastic netting to keep everything wrangled in one place. You can reuse the sacks that onions come in. I soak each variety in its own bag with a plastic label. I clip the bags to the side of the bucket so they stay in place. Soak the corms for 3-4 hours. Then, using a growing tray with drain holes, put down a layer of damp growing medium. Push the corms into the medium. I use plastic tabs to mark each variety as I am not growing enough of one variety to fill a tray (tiny farm problems). Cover the filled tray with slightly damp growing medium. Store the trays in a cool and dark place. Make sure to continue to water the tray, maintaining moisture. When the corms are starting to sprout, plant them out. I waited too long to plant out the corms shown below. You can tell by how leggy they are.
I plant out my anemones in the fall in successions in order to let them get established over the winter and to have flowers all spring. Anemones are cold hardy to growing zone 7, but I still use a caterpillar tunnel with frost cloth to protect the anemones from freezing temperatures over the winter. Once warm weather hits, anemones benefit from shade cloth as they don't like temperatures over 80 degrees.
Plant your started corms in prepared beds with the pointy side of the corm down and shoots facing up, about an inch below the soil. Plants can be spaced close together. I tend to space my plants about 4" apart, though they do fine with more space between plants, as well.
Make sure anemones get consistent water. On my farm, I rely on rainfall. If you live in an area with less average rainfall, make sure to water consistently with drip tape or a sprinkler.
Anemones easily rot when left in damp and soggy soil that does not drain easily. The corms I have planted in bulb crates have not fared as well as corms planted in the soil.
I have had issues with aphids in the past and am experimenting with garlic interplanted with anemones and ranunculus this year to help with pest pressure.
Harvest anemones in the morning when the flower buds are still closed and the flower is not stressed from the heat of the day. Look for flowers that have begun to separate from the leaves closest to it on the stem. These leaves are called the "collar." You are looking for a space of 1/4" or more between the flower and the collar before you harvest the bloom. Take care when snipping close to the ground not to cut into other flowers that are developing. Harvest into a clean bucket with clean water. Make sure the flowers are dry when storing in a cooler to prevent browning. Alternately, store anemones in a cool and dark room before using them in bouquets or arrangements. They should last 5-7 days.
Last year, I was able to leave my anemone corms in the ground and plant around them. In the fall, the corms started sprouting again. I dug the plants up and easily transplanted them to the bed where I wanted to overwinter them. They are already sprouting this spring, bringing beautiful color to bouquets. With care, you can continue to maintain the corms that you already have planted.
Remember that many flowers are patented and should not be propagated if they have a patent. Make sure to order new corms in the spring when your flowers are blooming in order to ensure you get corms in the fall.
This post is part of a year-long series on flowers and plants that we have growing on the farm. Check out other flowers that we love: