Japanese Anemones – Fall Star of the Garden

Floating above the border on long willowy stems, Japanese Anemones, Anemone hupehensis, are a stalwart herbaceous perennial that lasts for years. Many perennials are short-lived, lasting only for a few seasons, but I have had Anemones bloom for me in my garden for over 30 years. Reliable and deer resistant, they come in a variety of pinks, reds, and whites. Spreading by rhizomes, once you plant them, you can always count on them.

Dancing in the slightest breeze, the dainty flowers are great for floral arrangements in the fall. Commonly called Windflowers, these herbaceous perennials are different from the bulb anemones that bloom in springtime. An autumn bloomer, Japanese Anemone grows well in moist soil conditions and can take part sun or part shade. I find the flower color is actually best with some afternoon shade.  They steadily spread when happy.

Anemones arching over a pathway
Goldenrod is a great foil for Anemones
Japanese anemones work well as a foundation planting

Japanese anemones can grow 4 feet tall. Some taller varieties may need staking to keep them from falling over, but if you situate them close to supporting plants, they are fine. ‘Honorine Jobert’ a wonderful white heirloom variety is one of my favorites, but needs a little help in staying upright. That help might be surrounding supporting plants or against a fence. or wall.

Tall ‘Honorine Jobert” supported by a wall at Ladew
Honorine Jobert Anemone

Growing by my garden gate in October, ‘Honorine Jobert’ sometimes needs staking

Spreading by underground runners, the plants can be divided every few years to keep them in bounds. In the spring, you can dig them up and divide them and give some away or spread to other parts of your garden. When frost hits them, cut them back.

Red Riding Hood, a shorter Anemone at a nursery

Designing With Anemones

Anemones planted in a mass


Japanese anemones are great additions to part-sun gardens paired with Joe Pye Weed, Monkshood, Hosta, and Bergenia. They look best when planted in mass and have  room to spread. Check out my recent post on Joe Pye Weed.

Joe Pye Weed
Excellent in floral arranging
White Honorine Jobert is a classic Anemone

Newer Varieties

Closeup of ‘Red Riding Hood’

Since so many people have small gardens and can’t accommodate full-sized perennials, shorter varieties of Anemones are on the market and more are coming out. I thought I would hate them as one of the beauties of Anemones is the winsome willowy stems. But the shorter varieties are very floriferous and create a pop of color, albeit with a whole different form. Clumping forms of 12 to 18 inches tall, the plants are covered with blooms to make an instant color statement.

Fantasy ‘Pocahontas’ in a greenhouse
‘Honorine Jobert’ planted around a garden bench

When your coneflowers and phlox are fading from the late summer/fall garden, Japanese Anemones fill a gap in the blooming show that starts up with asters, sedums, and aconitum or monkshood. Forgetting about them all summer long with just the foliage showing, the flowers pop up out of nowhere and you remember why you planted them! For information on Monkshood, go to my post on Monkshood-Deadly Blue Beauty.

‘Honorine Jobert’ with Aconitum or Monkshood

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