Anemone anemone Whirlwind

(ah-ne-mo' nee)

Common name:Windflower

Family: Ranunculaceae, Buttercup

Height x width, habit: 6-48" x 6-36" (varies with species), low mounded with flowers above

Growth rate:moderate to fast

Foliage: compound into 3 segments (ternate to trifoliate), mostly or all basal depending on species

Flowers: often resembling a poppy, many colors depending on species, 2-3" across, most species have no petal rather showy sepals

Hardiness: 3-5 to 7

Soil: well-drained, fertile, organic, moist

Light: sun to part shade

Pests and Problems: leaf spots, rhizome rot, rusts, viruses, botrytis blight, powdery and downy mildew, smut, flea beetles on seedlings, nematodes (pests seldom serious)

Landscape habit, uses: borders, naturalized woodlands, rock gardens for low species

Other interest: ancient name from the Greek anemos for wind, a name used by Theophrastus

Other culture: often do best protected from wind; tuberous rhizomes should be planted out in fall in south, in spring in north after soaking overnight in water; treat as gladiolus, digging tubers and bringing indoors, in zones 3-4

Propagation: seed, division of tubers in fall, root cuttings of x hybrida and similar


The following species and cultivars are most commonly found in U.S. commerce. Those marked * are the most popular. Colors are for the species, some of which have other colors for cultivars. Three general groupings occur according to ecological habitat.

• Fall blooming fibrous-rooted occur in moist open meadows or open damp woodlands.

• Those with tubers or rhizomes vary in bloom time, and occur in several habitats including woodlands and well-drained soils, although they tolerate drier soils during summer dormancy after bloom.

• Tuberous-rooted species flower early and occur in areas of hot dry summers and light sandy soils; they require dry dormancy after flowering and are often less hardy.

Species zones height flower color bloom time roots native
blanda 4-7 6-8" sky blue,white early spring rhizome Greece
*canadensis 3-7 12-24" white spring rhizome N. U.S., Canada
coronaria 6-9 6-10" various early spring tuberous Mediterranean
*cylindrica 5-7 8-24" white summer fibrous W. U.S.
x hybrida 5-7 2-3' white, pink fall fibrous hybrid
*hupehensis 5-7 2-3' white, pink fall fibrous Central China
*x lesseri 5-7 15-18" rose red early summer rhizome hybrid
magellanica 3-7 6-8" white early spring rhizome Chile
nemorosa 4-8 6-8" white early spring rhizome Europe
rivularis 7-8 2-3' white, bluish late spring rhizome China, India
*sylvestris 4-7 12-18" white spring rhizome Europe
tomentosa 5-8 18-36" white fall fibrous Nepal
virginiana 4-7 1-2' white summer rhizome N. Amer.
vitifolia 5-7 2-3' white late summer rhizome China


Additional species notes:

• blanda (blan' dah)--Grecian Windflower, good for naturalizing, mainly found as cultivars

• canadensis (ca-na-den' sis)--Meadow Anemone, very invasive

• coronaria (cor-o-nair' ee-ah)--Poppy Anemone, mainly found as cultivars, short-lived so should be treated as annuals, good cut

• x hybrida (hi-bri-dah')--Hybrid/Japanese Anemone, many good hybrid cultivars

• hupehensis (hue-pe-hen' sis)--Japanese Anemone, found originally in Japan in 1695 and brought to England in 1844 by Robert Fortune, it was originally called A. japonica; many good cultivars now in var. japonica of this species

• nemorosa (nee-more-o' sah)--Wood Anemone, prefers slightly acid soil and fall planting, variable with many cultivars

• sylvestris (sil-ves' triss)--Snowdrop Anemone, very invasive especially in cooler North

• tomentosa (toe-men-toe' sah)--Grapeleaf Anemone, forming clumps and spreading by stolons, very easy to grow, attractive for early fall, formerly known as vitifolia only more hairy (tomentose) than that species

Cultivar species flowers other
'Alba':'Honorine Jobert'      
'Alba Plena' nemorosa white, semi-double 10" tall
'Alice' x hybrida light pink, semi-double  
'Bressingham Glow' hupehensis deep rose, semi-double var. japonica
'Charmer' blanda deep rose  
Cleopatra hybrids coronaria mix commercial cuts
*De Caen hybrids coronaria mix, single, saucer-shape from 18th century, France
'Die Braut':'The Bride'      
'Elegans' hupehensis pale rose  
'Hadspen Abundance' hupehensis pink rose, single  
'His Excellency':'Hollandia'      
'Hollandia' coronaria scarlet, white base, black De Caen hybrid
*'Honorine Jobert' x hybrida white popular since 1858
'Konigin Charlotte':'Queen Charlotte'      
'Kriemhilde'  x hybrida pink, semi-double fine, since 1909
'Lady Gilmore' x hybrida pure pink, semi-double large flowers
'Lord Lieutenant' coronaria purple blue St. Brigid hybrid
*'Margarete' x hybrida deep pink,semi-double sterile flowers
'Max Vogel' x hybrida pink, single 4' tall
Mona Lisa hybrids coronaria singles, mix large, long vase life
'Monterosa' x hybrida deep rose, semi-double twisted narrow sepals
'Mr. Fokker' coronaria violet blue De Caen hybrid
'Mt. Everest' coronaria white St. Brigid hybrid
*'Pamina' x hybrida lavender, rose semi-double
'Pink Star' blanda purple, large  
'Praecox' hupehensis dark pink, single early
*'Prince Henry' hupehensis deep rose, semi-double var. japonica
'Prinz Heinrich':'Prince Henry'      
'Queen Charlotte' x hybrida pink, semi-double, 3" ragged sepal edges
'Radar' blanda mauve, white centers large flowers
'Richard Ahrends' x hybrida pink lilac, semi-double fade white
*'Robustissima' tomentosa mauve pink zone 4 hardy
var. rosea blanda rose  
'Rosenschale' (Pink Shell) hupehensis dark rose  
*'September Charm' hupehensis silvery pink, single darker outside, drooping
'Splendens' hupehensis purple, pink  
*St. Brigid hybrids coronaria mix or separate semi-double
'Sylphide' coronaria violet rose Mona Lisa hybrid
'The Admiral' coronaria blue St. Brigid hybrid
'The Bride' coronaria white De Caen hybrid
'The Governor' coronaria crimson scarlet De Caen hybrid
'Violet Star' blanda violet, white centers  
*'Whirlwind' x hybrida white, semi-double, 4" 4-5' tall
*'White Splendour' blanda creamy white, single  

(blanda and 'Honorine Jobert' photos courtesy Missouri botanical gardens plantfinder)

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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