Japanese anemone (366945 bytes)

Japanese Anemone:  Fall Color in the Garden

 By Judy Feather, Colorado Master GardenerSM, Colordo State University Cooperative Extension, Denver County

If you think your choice of fall blooming flowers is limited to mums, asters and dahlias, think again. Japanese anemone, Anemone hybrida, adds a tall, late blooming accent of pink, rose or white to the late garden.

When many people think anemones, they think of the blue, white or pink spring blooms of low-growing Anemone blanda. Fall blooming Japanese anemone has proved to be very adaptable to Colorado's Front Range, doing well in partial shade to nearly full sun in tests at Colorado State University. The key is a consistently moist and preferably mulched soil.

Anemones are long-lived, fibrous-rooted perennials.  The base of the plant is a dark green clump, which produces leaves covered with soft hairs. The low foliage clumps look nice from the moment they emerge in spring until frost enforces their dormancy. Graceful, branching stems grow 2-4 feet high.

Anemone displays a charming appearance that masks a tough constitution. Plantings can survive considerable neglect. They appreciate mulching in climates where winters are severe. Plants are slow to establish, but spread readily if the roots are not disturbed.

Varieties such as white blooming 'Honorine Jobert' and double flowered, rose-red 'Pamini' are excellent for cutting. 'Prince Henry,' a double dark pink, 'September Charm,' a pale pink, and 'Queen Charlotte,' a semi-double pink are also commonly available and well-adapted to Front Range conditions. Choose plants from garden centers and garden catalogs for spring planting.

Companion plants of Aconitum (Monkshood), Bergenia, Hosta, or Physostegia virginiana (False dragonhead, Obedient plant) do well with Japanese Anemone. If you want to extend the flowering season of your autumn garden long after summer flowers have expended their energies, choose Japanese Anemone.

Photograph courtesy of Carl Wilson.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010