anemone flowers white with navy centers grown in backyard garden

How to Grow & Care for Anemone Flowers

by | Jun 15, 2024

I really don’t like high-maintenance flowers. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Spring flowers that require things like chilling or vernalization in order to bloom—like many tulips for example. This is why I love growing anemone flowers. Anemones are an incredible cut flower option for those of us who want sweet Spring bouquets in mild Winter climates, without the fuss.

Of course, anemones are not alone in my top choices for Spring cut flowers here in Southern California. During the delectable Spring months I enjoy growing ranunculus, sweet peas, a variety of narcissus, and muscari for arrangements. If you’re not a fan of high-maintenance flowers either, well, these might be some good choices for you too!

Types of Anemone Flowers

It surprised me to learn that there are many different types of anemones that one can grow. For instance, I commonly grow anemone coronaria which is also known as the poppy anemone and actually native to the mediterranean regions. Aside from anemone coronaria, there are Japanese anemones (which are unique hybrids and stunning) and anemone blanda (which are more daisy-like and supposedly deer resistant). Furthermore, if I told you that anemones are in the family ranunculae would my obsession with them make more sense? It’s true! Anemones are in the ranunculuae family—buttercup family—which explains why I love them almost as much as I love my dear ranunculus.

For the sake of this blogpost, I’m mostly referring to anemone coronaria, as this is the type of anemones that I have the most experience growing.

example of anemone flowers sprouting after planting

If you want to grow anemone flowers, here’s what you have to look forward to. This is how anemones look when they first sprout out of the ground. You might notice the peas in the background too. I planted them to climb on the trellis behind my anemones.

Start with Anemone Corms

The bulbous part of this flower is commonly referred to as a corm—much like our beloved ranunculus. An anemone corm kind of looks like a little acorn or piece of bark. It’s quite unassuming actually! You’ll want to start growing anemone flowers from purchased corms. Some of my favorite sources for bulbs, corms, and tubers are listed here. While you can grow anemone flowers from seeds, they are typically difficult to find. If you’re really interested in growing anemones from seed, you can always save some seeds yourself and try in the future. I’ve done it before!

Growing Conditions for Anemone Flowers

The best year I ever had for growing anemone flowers was the year I grew them in a raised bed with lots of compost and loamy, rich soil.  While it may seem that rich, well-draining soil is ideal for anemones, both my mom and myself have had success in less desirable conditions. In fact, you can watch me plant anemone corms in my Fall Planting Extravaganza video where the soil is quite compacted and I amended it as best I could. The anemones that year were still gorgeous! Overall, keep in mind that any bulbs, tubers, or corms will be in danger of rotting in soil that is too heavy and not well-draining. Especially here in Southern California, where we tend to plant during our rainy season, this can be a real hazard.

Anemones want at least 6-8 hours of sunlight to bloom. Since us mild climate gardeners tend to plant anemone flowers in Fall (more on that later), it’s pretty safe to plant them in full sun. In fact, these plants prefer full sun in order to send off lots of blooms! If grown in too much shade, you might get weak plants that don’t bloom prolifically.

The Best Season for Growing Anemones

Once again, let’s talk about Fall-planted bulbs and flowers! If you are growing in a cold winter zone, you could skip this part, as you will most likely be starting your anemone corms in early Spring or in greenhouses in Winter. On the other hand, those of us gardening in Southern California (zone 10) can benefit the most from fall-planted anemone corms. I go into details about fall-planted bulbs here, but essentially Fall planting is an amazing way to get your Spring plants established and growing—leading to stronger plants and better blooms. Unfortunately, if we waited until Spring to plant our corms, there’s a chance the heat will arrive early to our gardening zone and completely fry our plants before they can bloom! Much like ranunculus, anemones prefer mild temperatures (not freezing but not Summer). I tend to plant my anemones in October or November here in Southern California.

various anemones in vases showcasing their fuzzy centers

Anemones come in many different colors, but you might be able to tell that I’m fond of the white or blushy ones with deep colored centers. These are various anemone coronaria.

Soaking Anemone Corms

While I can confirm that anemone corms don’t need soaking in order to sprout, I like to soak my anemone corms before planting. Personally, anemone corms always feel very tough or hard to me, so soaking them just feels helpful. Again, not necessary, but I do it.

To soak anemone corms, simply place the corms in water in containers until they look a little plump. This process can take anywhere from 2-4 hours. It’s better to under-soak than over-soak, so as soon as the corms look plump you are ready to plant!

Planting Anemone Corms in the Garden

Once you’ve prepped your soil and soaked your anemone corms, it’s time to plant them in the garden. One interesting thing about growing anemone flowers is that you can plant them quite closely together. Personally, I space my corms about 4 inches apart and 3 inches deep, but you can allot 6 inches per corm if you have lots of space. Again, these measurements can vary depending on the type of anemone you are growing. To be safe, simply follow the instructions that the company sends you with your corm shipment!

Some growing guides will say to plant the anemone corms with the pointy end facing down. Sometimes, you’ll get corms that don’t necessarily have a clear orientation though….and that’s okay! Your corms will grow regardless of how you place them. Over time, especially if you end up digging and storing your anemone corms after the season ends, you’ll notice which end the stems grow from and can plant accordingly next time.

Lastly, even though we amend our soil with lots of compost, I still like to sprinkle an organic, all-purpose flower fertilizer over the entire area before planting as well. In the past I’ve used bulb fertilizer, flower fertilizer, and even a generic all-purpose fertilizer—it doesn’t really seem to make much of a difference in terms of plant performance.

Critters Love Corms

Alas friends, our dear furry friends love to dig up all types of corms and bulbs in the garden. Some critters, like raccoons, are usually looking for grubs, whereas squirrels like to actually dig up tubers and such. You might know that I’ve had this issue quite a few times before (see my asparagus fiasco or saffron blogpost), so I’ve learned my lesson. Honestly, you can get creative with how you choose to protect your newly planted anemone flower corms, but just remember to protect them! Most of the time, I use a thin metal wire grid to lay over the bed until the plants are somewhat grown in.

anemone garden showing a metal grid in background to protect corms

If you look in the background here, you can see the metal grid I used to protect my anemone corms from being dug by critters. Usually, I remove the grid when the plants are large enough, but I forgot this year so the grid stayed.

The Best Time to Harvest, Cut, or Pick Your Anemone Flowers

If you start growing anemones flowers (remember I’m referring to anemone coronaria), you’ll notice some adorable attributes. To start, their centers are like fuzzy pillows of velvet! Especially with the classic white anemone flowers, my favorite types have the navy centers. Second, you’ll notice a frilly collar that is green right under the flower. This frilly collar is unique to anemones, and will help you know when to pick your anemones for maximum vase life.

See, you’ll know it is time to cut/harvest/pick your anemone flowers when the distance between the frilly collar and the flower is about one-fourth an inch (1/4″). See the diagram below for a visual. One fun fact about anemones is that they will continue to grow taller in the vase. In fact, when I use to do flower arrangements, we would purposely cut the anemone stems just a tad shorter than the rest of the flowers because we knew, in the days before the event, that the flowers would end up poking out of the arrangements.

Overwintering Anemone Flowers in Mild Climates

If you are a mild climate gardener, it’s very simple to leave your anemone corms in the ground every year. Of course, if you are hurting for growing space (like me!) you can also dig up and store your anemone corms so that you can use that garden space for something else while the anemones are dormant. Remember, anemone corms are planted pretty shallowly, so they are more susceptible to freezing in colder areas—and thus turning into mush as they defrost!

How to Dig and Store Your Own Anemone Corms

I always like to remind my garden friends that digging and storing any corm or tuber always comes with some risk. On the other hand, overwintering in ground does too—-I guess it’s risky no matter what! Can we catch a break?!

If you want to save and store your anemone corms, you need to let them die back in the garden completely. You’ll notice that the stems and leaves will start to yellow and die back naturally. At this point, I’ll usually use a shovel to carefully dig up the entire plant (keeping the stems intact) and move them to a well ventilated area in my garage. Please don’t leave them exposed to direct sun or intense heat or cold!

Leave your bundles of dried plants to dry out in the garage. Keep in mind that we want them to be dry enough to prevent mold, but not so dry that they become withered and shriveled. Once your anemone corms seem completely dry, simply snip off the dead stems and keep your little corms in a paper bag inside. Personally, I use a bedroom closet to store both my anemone and ranunculus corms. Works like a charm!

If you have some time, check out my Anemone Corm Digging & Storing video for more details.

example of the distance between anemone collar and flower to determine picking

The ideal time to pick anemone flowers is when the distance between the flower and the collar is about 1/4-1/2 inch.

In the future, I really want to add some Japanese anemones to my garden. Have you seen them? I’m really drawn to their form, and every time I spy one in a garden on my travels I immediately want to take a closer look. I’ve seen some gorgeous specimens in gardens in Northern California, so they are on my list to research and try! 

If you found this guide to growing anemone flowers helpful, please share it, leave a comment, or pin for later!


  1. Tania

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience and growing tips! I love anemones and just ordered some online, having no idea what to do with them! Love your blog.

    • FreckledCalifornian

      I’m so excited for you, and thanks for leaving me a comment! You’re gonna love growing anemones.


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Meet Randi

Urban gardening is my jam. I’m Randi, California girl who obsessively gardens to grow food and flowers around my urban home. Seasonal, simple living is what inspires me~ I hope it will inspire you too. Join me in crafting a life and home connected to the garden Read More>>>>

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