Anemone hupehensis var. japonica commonly known as Japanese Anemones are among the best late summer and autumn border flowers, providing colour late in the flowering season when many other plants are beginning to fade. They help push the show into the autumn and well into that period when most gardens begin to fade.
The early growth is in late spring with strong basal clumps or mounds of divided semi-evergreen foliage. This provides a lovely fissured texture to the planting palette against which to set summer flowering plants and to contrast other green material in the border. The foliage is a most encouraging start to what develops into a great flourish of thin branched and wiry flowering multi-stemmed stalks. The flowers open from round, silk-covered buds and in summer rain, look like pearls glistening in the border. Late in the season, gently cupped flowers in white through pale pink into a pinkish purple, with exquisite two-toned backs, bloom from August right through to late October.
Japanese Anemones are best planted in beds or boarders which get full sun but which retains a certain amount of moisture in the soil. The Japanese Anemone is the most adaptable of all the anemone’s to drier conditions and will do well in average and even sandy soil. It will tolerate almost any soil as long as it is not saturated with water. They bloom best in full sun but also give a good show in shadier places which makes them very versatile. They are wonderful for adding light and colour to damp, dull spots and the large wide open blooms associate well with most other late flowers.
There are few more easy-going plants, the tall stems do not need staking and once established do not need watering. They need no maintenance beyond a trim to remove spent flower stalks and tidy up any dead leaves in March.
Hardy to minus 20°C (-5°F) once established they will typically grow to around 120cm (4ft) tall, with a spread of 45cm (18in). They have attractive foliage which has few pests or diseases and are rabbit resistant. The flowers are held fairly high above their foliage making these plants great for deep in flower borders and dotted amongst shorter shrubs.
Japanese Anemones deserve their popular name of Windflower because it does just that - they catch the wind which also refers to the beautiful seed heads that accompanies the whole flowering cycle.
Keep the whole structure intact until spring to give a pretty winter structure and provide an eco-friendly habitat for birds and insects. Use the cut flower in autumn bouquets.
Sowing: Sow in Spring or Autumn.
Sow 1.5mm (1/16in) deep in a good quality, moist seed compost. For best results the seeds should be pre-chilled before sowing. To do this sow as above and seal inside a polythene bag, leave for 2 weeks at 15 to 18°C (60 to 65°F) then place in a fridge (not freezer) for six weeks. Then return to 15 to 18°C and exclude light until germination starts in one to three months. Keep a check on the compost to make sure it does not dry out.
When the seedlings are large enough to handle transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots and place in a cold frame. After the first season, plant out 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) apart in moist, well drained soil in sun or part shade.
Anemones prefer a well-drained, humus-rich soil. They will tolerate dry gardens, but spread better in moist soil and a mulch will help to keep the moisture in. However, they do not like standing in water during winter and they don't need feeding.The Japanese Anemone is the most adaptable of all the anemone’s to drier conditions, but need more watering attention initially until they are established.
Before planting, work a bucket or two of leaf mould or composted bark into the top few inches of the soil. Avoid manure or other rich food. If you are planting among tree roots, be tentative. Use a trowel or hand fork to detect main roots and make small, shallow planting holes between them. Water well and mulch. Do not build raised beds over tree roots. Once established do not replant, the plants flower best in the second and subsequent years.
Plant 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) apart in moist, fertile well-drained soils in sun or dappled shade. Overly dry soils will retard good growth.
In spring, apply a generous 5 to 7cm (2 to 3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant. Cut back to just above ground level if they start to look messy and they will quickly rejuvenate.
Japanese Anemone can take time to establish, but once they do agree to grow they can spread. In areas of the world where summers are warmer they will also set seed. In cooler temperate gardens they are much better behaved. Keep their size in check by dividing the plant, in autumn or early spring by cutting down the middle with a shovel, dividing into regular size pieces and replanting in another part of the garden.
Beds and borders, Shade and Woodland Gardens
Anemones, also known as windflowers, are a diverse group, with various species blooming in spring and in autumn. Most are from the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and many are natural woodland or woodland edge plants.
Some species have fibrous roots and are found in the perennials section of seed suppliers, nurseries and garden centres. Others such as Grecian windflower (Anemone blanda) and poppy anemone (A. coronaria) grow from tubers. They are planted in the autumn along with spring-flowering bulbs.
Introduced in 1908, the first Japanese Anemones are were found in central and western China (Hubei into Sichuan and into Yunnan provinces). Hubie province gives its name to this species Anemone hupehensis. When the plant hunter Robert Fortune (1812-1880) first saw A. hupehensis it was running between the tombstones of a Shanghai graveyard. Its flowers are variable in colour ranging from white through pale pink into a pinkish purple.
They are members of the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae and like other members Anemones contain the irritating, acrid oil protoanemonin and are not edible.
The genus name anemone literally means 'the daughter of the Wind’. It is derived from the Greek word for wind, anemos. When a gust blows across the woodland floor, thousands of anemone flowers shiver on flower stalks that are as slender as a thread.
Many modern books repeat the story that the Roman naturalist Pliny (c. 77AD) believed that it was the wind that brought anemones into bloom in the spring "The flower never opens, except while the wind is blowing, a circumstance to which it owes its name"; however, it wouldn't have been this species that he had in mind, but the far more robust, scarlet-flowered Anemone coronaria that blooms throughout the eastern Mediterranean in spring. Pliny's writings are fascinating source of natural history information, some of it fanciful, some of it accurate and perceptive.
Native to in central and western China, from Hubei into Sichuan and into Yunnan provinces. The province of Hubie gives its name to this species, Anemone hupehensis
Commonly called Japanese Windflower, Japanese Anemone, Windflower or Japanese Thimbleflower. Although the Japanese anemone is actually native to China it is so named as it has naturalised throughout Japan.
Synonyms include Anemone hupehensis, Anemone hupehensis var. japonica, and Anemone × hybrida.
Pronounced an-NEM-oh-nee hew-pay-EN-sis
- Additional Information
Packet Size 10mg Average Seed Count 25 Seeds Family Ranunculaceae Genus Anemone Species hupehensis Cultivar Often marketed as 'Rose Beauty' Common Name Japanese Windflower Other Common Names Japanese Anemone, Windflower or Japanese Thimbleflower. Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers White through pale pink into a pinkish purple, Natural Flower Time August to late October. Foliage Strong basal clumps of divided semi-evergreen foliage. Height Flowers to 120cm (4ft) Spread 45cm (18in) Position Well-drained, humus-rich soil