Growing Wood Anemone Plants: Wood Anemone Uses In The Garden

Snowdrops. Anemone nemorosa.
Image by AlexSid

By Mary Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Also known as windflower, wood anemone plants (Anemone quinquefolia) are low-growing wildflowers that produce dainty, waxy blooms rising above attractive, bright green foliage in spring and summer. Flowers may be white, greenish-yellow, red, or purple, depending on the variety. Read on for tips on growing wood anemone plants.

Wood Anemone Cultivation

Wood anemone uses in the garden are similar to other woodland plants. Grow wood anemone in a shady woodland garden or where it can border a perennial flower bed, much as you would with other anemone windflowers. Allow plenty of space because the plant spreads quickly by underground stolons, eventually forming large clumps. Wood anemone isn’t well-suited for container growing and doesn’t perform well in hot, dry climates.

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Although wood anemone grows wild in many areas, wild plants are difficult to transplant into the garden. The easiest way to grow wood anemone is to purchase a starter plant from a garden center or greenhouse.

You can also plant seeds in a small peat pot filled with moist potting soil in late winter or early spring. Place the pot in a plastic bag and chill it in the refrigerator for two to three weeks. Plant the container in a shady, moist area after all danger of frost has passed.

This member of the buttercup family is a woodland plant that performs best in full or partial shade, such as the dappled light beneath a deciduous tree. Wood anemone requires rich, loose soil and benefits from the addition of 2 to 3 inches of compost, leaf mulch or bark chips to the soil before planting.

When growing wood anemone, plant carefully and wear garden gloves to prevent skin irritation when working with wood anemone. Also, wood anemone is toxic when eaten in large quantities, and may cause severe mouth pain.

Wood Anemone Care

Once established, wood anemone is a low-maintenance plant. Water regularly; the plant prefers soil that is lightly moist but never soggy or waterlogged. Keep the roots cool by spreading a 2- to 3-inch layer of bark chips or other organic mulch around the plant in early summer. Replenish the mulch after the first freeze in autumn to protect the plant during the winter.

Wood anemone requires no fertilizer when it is planted in rich, organic soil.

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