11 Tips For Growing Anemones in Pots or Containers

Are you trying to grow anemones in pots or containers this season? These beautiful flowers make great container plants, but there are a few things you can do to ensure they have a longer lifespan. In this article, gardening expert and cut flower farmer Taylor Sievers shares her top tips for growing magnificent anemones in pots or containers!

anemones containers

Contents

Anemones, or Grecian windflowers, are adorable members of the family Ranunculaceae–the buttercup family. They are herbaceous perennials that grow from small tubers (nicknamed “corms”) or rhizomes, depending on the species. Anemones are commonly grown in flowerbeds, but also can make an excellent container flower!

The time to shine for anemones is in the Spring (except for Japanese anemones, which are perennial flowers that bloom in the Fall). There are three main species of anemones: Anemone coronaria, A. blanda, and A. x hybrida. Depending on the species, anemone flowers remind many people of either poppies or daisies.

Most anemones are low growing,  and some can spread to form a thick groundcover in the landscaping, like Anemone blanda. Others will delight you with their intense colors in a patio pot, like A. coronaria. If you’re excited to try growing these charming flowers in a pot, check out these tips to get started!

Select Proven Varieties

Top view, close-up of blooming red and purple anemones in separate flower pots. The flowers are large, open, simple, with about 20 sepals, a dark center and stamens sticking out around it on white-pink threads. The leaves are compound with lobed, divided leaf blades. The edges of the leaves are serrated.
Anemone coronaria is a variety that is excellent for growing in containers.

There are several different varieties of anemones out there, but luckily the most popular ones that are available to gardeners are excellent for container gardening.

First off, you’ll want to plant varieties of the species Anemone coronaria. A. coronaria is often known as the common garden anemone for a reason. Other anemone species can be grown in pots, but they prefer to be planted in the ground.

Two popular mixes are the De Caen and the St. Brigid varieties, which come in various shades of color and also mixes. These are very old, proven varieties. St. Brigid varieties have more narrow daisy-like, layered petals. De Caen anemones have single or semi-double wide, rounded petals. You’ll find blooms of blue, white, pink, purple, and black and white in these mixes.

Use A Container With Drainage

Flower pots of various colors and sizes are made of ceramics on the grass. The pots are large, dark orange, bright yellow, and brown flowers are one on the other in two tiers. One of the pots has a drainage hole underneath.
Make sure your pot has a drainage hole in the bottom to avoid waterlogged conditions in the plant’s roots.

Since anemones are a “bulb” crop, meaning they grow from a perennial underground structure, they can be prone to rotting if the soil is overly moist. A common problem with container gardening can be watering too much and using a pot without a drainage hole at the bottom.

Houseplants are often grown in ceramic pots with no drainage holes at the bottom. This happens because they are watered indoors, usually on a nice table or countertop. Naturally, a person wouldn’t want a big water mess ruining their furniture.

However, without a drainage hole at the bottom, you could accidentally overwater your pot. You may not know that the bottom half of your plant’s root zone is sitting in soggy conditions.

Waterlogged conditions cause loss of oxygen to the roots and ultimately root decay. You don’t want you anemone corms rotting away before you get to see those adorable little blooms!

Some plastic pots don’t have drainage holes, but they have spots that you can use a drill to make holes if you want. Make sure to drill holes before potting up your anemones if this is the case.

Add Broken Crocks or Rocks to Pots

Top view of a white flower pot filled with drainage. Close-up of expanded clay drainage.
It is recommended to put a shallow layer of drainage rocks at the bottom of the pot.

Before adding potting mix to your pot, make sure to add a shallow layer of rock or broken crockery to the bottom to promote drainage. If you don’t know what broken crockery is, it’s any type of broken clay pot pieces you have lying around–don’t throw them away! They’re useful.

Water moves from areas of high resistance to low resistance naturally. It’s much easier for water to travel between the spaces of broken crock or rock than it is for it to move through the tight spaces between peat or compost mix in the top part of the pot. This promotes quick drainage so that your plants’ roots are not sitting in soggy soil.

Use a Well-Draining Potting Mix

Close-up of a gardener's hands pouring soil from a paper bag into a terracotta flower pot using a blue iron spatula. The soil is loose. The gardener is dressed in gray trousers and a blue sweater.
Choose a well-drained potting mix that is well water-permeable.

Along the same lines as using a clay pot and adding rocks to the bottom of your pot, you’ll want to select a potting mix that is well-draining. Most potting mixes have inherently good drainage compared to natural soil because they’re usually peat-based.

Some mixes are coconut coir based. Both of these bases are naturally more fibrous, which allows for larger pore spaces for water to move freely through.

Sometimes gardeners will want to use 100% compost in their pots. While this may sound good, it might be wise to mix compost either with some finely chopped bark or a potting mix of your choice. Compost granules can break down and compress through multiple waterings, making the pore spaces smaller within the pot.

If you want to add compost, that’s okay. Just make sure to blend it with sand, peat, or coconut coir at a rate of 20 to 50% compost.

Soak Your Corms Beforehand

Soaking anemone corms for growing in pots before planting. On a table covered with a wicker stand, there is one flower pot filled with soil, and another flower pot is empty. In the foreground, there is a shallow round tray with an anemone corm soaked in water. A small garden shovel is next to the flower pots.
It is recommended to soak anemone corms before planting.

In the flower industry, anemone “bulbs” are actually called corms. While technically not a corm (they’re a tuber), the basic point is that they grow from an underground perennial storage organ. You’ll notice when you unpack your anemones that they are extremely hard and dry. They will need to be rehydrated in order to start growing.

You can plant them directly into the pot and water well if you’d like. But the best way to get them going is by soaking them prior to planting. Unpack all of the corms you want to plant and place them in a cup or tray of water for 4 to 12 hours (no longer than 12 hours).

After you have soaked them and potted them up into a moist potting mix, do not water them again until you see shoots poking through the soil. Make sure your potting mix is moist. Do not plant into extremely dry potting mix as the mix will “steal” moisture from your corms.

Position Corms Correctly

Three anemone corms on a wooden table before planting. One of the corms is in a garden shovel with a green handle. The corms are brown, shriveled, with barely visible buds.
It is important to position the corm with the flat side up, on which you can see several small buds forming shoots.

Anemone corms are strangely shaped organs, and it can be extremely hard to distinguish which way is up. Look closely at your corm, and you should notice a more flat side. This side is likely where the shoots will come from, so position this flatter side up.

You may be able to notice some small dots or “eyes” on the corm. These are the buds that will form shoots. Most of the time the “fingers” or nubs are the bottom or side of the corm.

If you are distressed about this tip, please don’t worry. If you mistakenly plant them incorrectly, most of the time the shoots will still grow up. It may just take longer for them to reach the soil surface.

Plant Shallow

Close-up of a black plastic pot with small Anemone coronaria sprouts. Three sprouts are pale green in color with leaves that are not yet formed. The soil is loose.
Anemones should be planted 2 inches deep for good growth.

Anemones should be planted only 2 inches deep for optimum growth. The top 2 inches of soil in pots can often dry out rather quickly, so keep this in mind as your anemones start to grow throughout the season.

Because you’ll be planting anemones in the cool temperatures of Spring, depending on where you live, for the most part moisture is not something you have to worry about as much as in the Summer.

Space Seedlings Appropriately

Top view, close-up of green anemone sprouts growing from the soil in a large brown flower pot. 11 bright green sprouts, arranged in a circle, have 2-3 complex lobed leaves with serrated edges. The soil in the pot is moist.
It is recommended to plant anemones 2 inches apart.

Plant your anemones about 2 inches apart within the pot. Try to keep them about 4 inches away from the edge of the pot. You want to make sure the corm has an ample amount of soil between the roots and edge of the pot to spread out.

Keep Your Pot Sheltered

Close-up of a large anemone flower in a pot. The flower is bright pink, large, open, and simple, with 8 sepals, a dark center, and stamens sticking out around it on white-pink threads. In the blurred background, there is green anemones foliage.
A freshly pot-planted anemone should be stored in a cool place with low lighting until the first shoots begin to show.

When you first plant your anemones, it will likely be in about February or March (basically, late Winter to very early Spring). That means that you are likely still experiencing hard frosts, if not downright freezing temperatures.

For this reason, you’ll want to keep your pot in a sheltered spot in an area that has moderate temperatures between 40 and 50℉. Place your anemone pot somewhere like a cold garage or basement would be best right after planting.

Once the temperatures are above freezing consistently, you can set your pot outside permanently. For reference, anemones can handle a little bit of frost, as I have had some blooming in December outside here in the U.S. Midwest.

They did succumb to the frigid temperatures in January for me, however. It would be best practice to take the pot inside at night if you’re worried about freezing night temperatures.

If storing in a space with low light, like a basement, make sure that as soon as the shoots start to emerge you move the pot to a space with light, otherwise the shoots will be white and leggy.

Deadhead to Promote New Blooms

Close-up of a withered single pink anemone flower. The sepals are sluggish, lowered down, exposing the black center with protruding stamens. The leaves are compound with lobed, divided leaf blades.
Once the flowers begin to wilt, they need to be cut back for a neat look and to encourage more flowers to bloom.

Once the anemones begin pushing out blooms, I promise you’ll be so delighted by these adorable little flowers. To keep your pots looking tidy and beautiful, it’s good practice to deadhead any faded blooms.

Once the flowers start to fade and drop petals, you can deadhead by cutting anemones at the base of the flower stem close to the soil line. Anemones will continue to bloom until the temperatures rise at the start of Summer.

Let Them Die Back Before Dormancy

Anemone flower transplant on a white table. Close-up of a flowering anemone plant with two blue flowers, bare-rooted, on a table surrounded by gardening tools. The flower is large, open, with 4–27 sepals, a dark center with protruding black stamens. On the table is a white watering can, garden shovel and secateurs.
As summer approaches, the anemones hibernate and their foliage begins to turn yellow and die.

As Summer approaches, you may notice the foliage of your anemones starting to yellow and die back. That’s okay. The warm temperatures are signaling your plant that it’s time to go into dormancy.

Most cut flower growers will treat anemones like annuals and grow new corms each year. However, if you want to save your corms for next year, you certainly can! Let the foliage die back naturally and then gently lift the corms for storage. You’ll want to trim off all the dead roots and leaves and wash them off. Some gardeners soak them in a 10% bleach solution.

Store the corms in a cool, dry, dark place until it’s time to plant them again! My second year anemones were more vigorous and produced double the amount of stems per plant, if not more.

Wrap-Up

Anemones are one of my favorite flowers as a cut flower grower. So much so that I have even grown them in pots in my landscaping in the last few years! As long as you follow the tips in this article, you should have success when it comes to potting up anemones for bright, beautiful Spring blooms. Try gifting a little pot of anemones to a friend once you get the hang of it–they really are a treasure!

SHARE THIS POST

Flowers

11 Tips for Growing Beautiful Zinnias in Pots

Zinnias are a flower grower's dream with their long bloom season, range of color options, and ability to grow well on patios in containers or raised beds. Today, there are cultivars explicitly bred for container growing, so if you have containers you want to fill up with flowers, look no further than zinnias. Join small-scale farming expert Jenna Rich to discuss some tips and tricks to grow beautiful zinnias in containers.

An arrangement of patriotic flowers in varying sizes, showcasing shades of red, white, and blue. The blooms are thoughtfully interspersed with an assortment of lush green leaves, creating a harmonious blend of colors.

Flowers

13 Container Arrangements for Labor Day

Are you looking for ideas to build a container arrangement this Labor Day Weekend? In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares some ideas for creating a stunning arrangement that will last for multiple seasons.

fast growing roses

Flowers

17 Fast Growing Roses to Plant This Season

Do you want the look of a mature rose garden, fast? Some robust rose varieties take less time to reach full size, giving you nearly instant garden gratification. In this article, gardening expert and rose enthusiast Danielle Sherwood shares 17 fast-growing roses to transform your garden.