Anemone: Ultimate Flower Guide
Facts, varieties, meaning and how to grow
Anemone (pronounced anem-o-nee) are beautiful spring flowers that will add a touch of colour to any garden. These delicate flowers are not only popular to grow but also make beautiful additions to cut flower arrangements. This handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about the anemone flower including useful facts and helpful tips on how to grow your own.
Varieties of anemone
When it comes to the anemone flower, there are many types that bloom in both spring and autumn. We've listed a few of them below with both their scientific name and common name.
Yellow Woodland/ Buttercup Anemone
Anemone meanings and symbolism
Flowers in the garden not only make us feel more at peace with nature but also let us show off our artistic side. Which is why colour is important for so many gardeners as most colours hold a special meaning with different flowers. Anemones are no different in this respect.
- White anemone Symbolises sincerity because of their delicate nature.
- Red & pink anemone Are typically associated with death or forsaken love.
- Purple anemone Often symbolise protection from evil.
The anemone flower holds many different meanings and symbolisms in different cultures across the ages and around the world.
- In Christianity, red anemones symbolise the blood of Christ when he was on the cross. They are also often depicted in Christian paintings alongside Jesus being crucified or the Virgin Mary mourning.
- In the Near East, they are believed to carry disease and represent bad luck.
- Europeans used to think anemones carried bad omens and misfortune. Therefore, people would hold their breath through fields of anemone to avoid bringing this supposed misfortune upon themselves.
- In English and Irish folk tales, many believed that fairies would sleep within the petals as the closed up at night. In depictions of fairies, you will often also see anemone flowers alongside them.
- In Chinese culture, red anemones are also associated with death. This is the same within Greek and Christian cultures.
- Anemones have been represented in many famous paintings by the likes of Monet and Matisse.
As with so many flowers, the mythological meaning behind the anemone flower comes from ancient Greece. According to the myth, Aphrodite held deep feelings for the hunter Adonis. Ares discovered this and, in a jealous fit of rage, killed Adonis. As Aphrodite mourned her lost love, the tears that fell to the ground bloomed into the beautiful anemone flower. Hence their significance in many cultures as a symbol of death and forsaken love.
Facts about anemones
Although a fairly common flower type, here are some interesting facts about the anemone flower that you may not have known:
- The word "Anemone" comes from the greek "anemos" meaning wind, hence why it is given the alternative name of "windflower"
- There are over 120 species of anemone and they grow wildly in many European countries as well as in North America and Japan.
- Many varieties grow in spring but there are some that also grow in autumn
- They are closely related to the Pasque flower and are often placed in the same genus
- Often mistaken as the same flower type, anemones sit in the same family as the poppy
- Anemones are sometimes used in medicine as a treatment for cramps, menstrual problems and emotional distress
- The petals close up at night and reopen in the morning to protect itself from cold nights. Because of this, anemones can often also represent relaxation
- The most common type is the Japanese autumn flowering anemone
- The most common colour is white
- Although anemones don't last very long as cut flowers, they are still very popular to include in table arrangements and wedding bouquets
- Fresh anemone flowers are poisonous to ingest
- Anemones are perennial flowers so they will grow back year after year
How to grow anemone flowers
If you fancy growing your own anemone flowers, then the process is fairly straightforward. Plant them in your garden bed or a container and watch them bloom year after year.
- When choosing a spot for your anemone bulbs, ensure the soil can be well drained. Anemones will grow in almost any soil type but they will grow better in soil that can drain easily. Peat moss, compost and ground bark are all great options and are widely available.
- Pick a spot where your flowers will get a full day of sunlight or at least half a day.
- Before you plant, soak your bulbs in lukewarm water for a few hours to help prepare them for the process. This will act as a "wake-up call" of sorts so they will be ready to plant once you have prepped the soil.
- Now, dig your holes and plant your bulbs about 1-2" down. Don't worry about which way up you plant them as anemones will grow regardless; they can figure out which way is up. How clever is that?
- Once planted, ensure you water them well and gently set the soil around the bulb. They will typically start to flower in the spring but some do flower in the autumn.
- As your anemones start to bloom, you can cut them to create small bouquets. This won't hurt the plant or the growth.
- After the flowers finish blooming, leave the foliage on to collect sunlight which will feed the plant and strengthen the bulb for the future. You'll still need to water it while the leaves are photosynthesising but only as and when needed.
- Once the summer is over, the leaves will yellow and begin to die. You can now cut off the foliage and let it rest for a few months. Since anemone flowers are perennials, they will grow back year after year given that they are taken care of properly even when they aren't in bloom.
How to grow anemone in a container
The process for growing anemones in a container is essentially the same as growing in a flower bed. There are no other special care requirements. Simply choose a container, whether it is a pot, trough or planter and ensure it can be well drained. It is still important they get plenty of sun but you can move them around if need be to ensure they get the most of the light. Then you simply need to follow the steps as above to plant your anemone bulbs.