What You Will Need
Top-quality anemone corms
- Potting soil
- Organic fertilizer
- Frost cloth
- Drip irrigation or soaker hoses
- Depending on where you live and what kind of set-up you're working with, you can plant your anemones in either the fall or late winter/early spring. While spring-planted corms won't be quite as prolific as fall-planted ones, you can still get a nice harvest. In areas with mild winter temperatures (zone 6 and above), anemones can be planted in the fall and successfully overwintered outdoors with minimal protection such as a low tunnel or frost cloth. In colder areas, where temperatures dip well below freezing for extended periods of time, anemones must be grown in a minimally heated hoophouse or presprouted indoors and planted out at the end of winter/early spring. Plants can be moved outside once the threat of deep freezing has passed; this is usually about a month before your last spring frost. If corms are exposed to temperatures below 20°F (-7°C), they will freeze and ultimately rot once thawed. So be sure to protect them from extreme cold temperatures.
- When you unpack your anemone corms, you'll notice they resemble shriveled brown acorns and are probably not what you were expecting. Don't worry, these strange little critters will actually produce an abundance of striking blooms come spring.
- Before planting, soak corms for 3 to 4 hours in room-temperature water, leaving the water running just slightly during the process to help provide extra oxygen. As the corms soak, they will plump up, often doubling in size.
- After soaking, corms can be either planted directly into the ground or presprouted. Presprouting the corms before planting will give plants a jumpstart, and you'll have flowers a few weeks earlier you would with non-presprouted ones. To presprout, fill a flat-bottom seed tray half full of moist potting soil. Sprinkle the soaked corms into the soil and cover them with more soil so that they are completely covered. Leave this tray in a cool place (40-50°F or 4-10°C) where rodents can't find it for 10 to 14 days. Check on the corms every few days, make sure the soil is moist but not soggy, and remove any corms that show signs of rot or mold.
- During this time, corms will swell to twice their original size and develop little rootlets. Once these roots are about 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch (0.3-1 cm) long—pull them up to check—plant them in the ground 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5 cm) deep with the pointed end down.
- Before planting it's important to prepare the growing beds. We add a generous dose of compost (2 to 3 inches or 5 to 7.5 cm) and balanced organic fertilizer (we use Nature's Intent 7-2-4) and mix it thoroughly into the soil. Corms are planted 6 inches (15 cm) apart, with 5 rows per bed.
- During cold stretches, when temps dip below freezing, cover the plants with a layer of frost cloth.
- Anemones normally start to flower about three months after planting. Fall-planted corms bloom in early spring and continue steadily for eight to 10 weeks. Late winter-planted corms will flower by mid-spring and continue for about six weeks.
- The vase life of anemones is fantastic, often reaching 10 days. Harvest as soon as flowers open, and add preservative to the water to ensure that the petals stay brilliantly colored to the end.