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Wood anemone, a planting guide for the soft Anemone nemorosa

Wood anemone

Wood anemone is a short rhizome perennial that bears white flowers in full shade.

Key Anemone nemorosa facts:

Latin name: Anemone nemorosa
Common name: Wood Anemone
Family: Ranunculaceae
Type: Bulbous perennial

Height: 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm)
Planting density: 4 to 6 plants per 10 sq feet (1 m²)
Exposure: shade to part shade
Soil: any type, humus-rich, moist but well-drained

Bloom: Spring – Foliage: Deciduous

Wood Anemone, also known as Anemone nemorosa, stands shorter than its cousins. Its leaves closely resemble those of other anemones. However, its flowers bring their own unique flair with a white hue touched by shades of pink to reddish on the outside.

Planting Wood Anemone

How to plant wood anemoneAnemone nemorosa isn’t picky about soil type—whether clay, limestone, or sandy. It also tolerates all pH levels. Just make sure soil remains moist without staying waterlogged. As for sunlight, avoid direct rays; they might scorch the delicate leaves. Shade or part shade works best.

Planting in fall sets your Wood Anemone up nicely for warmer seasons. Spring planting is doable, but you’ll need to be more careful and not forget watering that first summer.

Planting is easy:

  • Dig a hole about 4 inches deep (a dozen centimeters).
  • Take out the Anemone nemorosa from its pot, break the clump apart gently. This frees up side rhizomes for easier spreading.
  • Drop some potting soil at the base, settle the plant in.
  • Fill up the hole, pat the soil down, and water generously.

Think of placing around 5 plants for every 10 sq feet (1 m²) or so of space.

Wood anemone in a potFeel like planting your wood anemone in a pot? Get a pot that can store water at the bottom. Ensure there’s a drainage layer at the base but don’t block water: it should be able to escape.

To keep soil moisture high in all seasons, a thick layer of mulch after planting is recommended. It’ll double as frost protection for your wood anemone during winter.

Caring for Wood Anemone

Caring for wood anemoneAnemone nemorosa is almost maintenance-free.

Just ensure soil stays moist. But watch your watering frequency:

  • After it blooms, wood anemone goes dormant, and water needs decrease.

In late winter, trim back the plant to allow new foliage to emerge.


While this wild anemone can spread through seeding, the quickest and most effective method is still dividing the clump at the end of summer or early fall. Just uproot the plant, split it in different parts, and then replant each one as described earlier in this article.

Diseases and pests:

Few pests bother the wood anemone, except maybe caterpillars and slugs that nibble on young leaves.

As for diseases, rust and downy mildew can affect leaves, especially in hot and humid weather.

Using and pairing Sylvie Anemone

Wood anemone truly lives up to its name, brightening up shaded beds or woods effortlessly. Consider placing it at the base of shrubs to highlight their beauty.

You’ll find the perfect partner for your Anemone nemorosa in the spring bulbs group, such as daffodil, Muscari, or crocus.

Advice on anemone toxicity

Good to know: anemones are toxic plants. Eating them leads to stomach issues, and they can irritate skin upon contact. Wear gloves when gardening with them.

Explore further:

Images: Pixabay: Artur Pawlak, Albrecht Fietz, ivabalk, Marisa

Written by Christophe Dutertre | With a formal degree in landscaping and an informal love of gardens, Christophe will introduce you to this passion we all share. Novelty, down-to-earth tips and environment-friendly techniques are marked on the map, so let's get going!
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