Anemones are, quite simply, stunning.
They are one of the first flowers to arrive in the cut flower patch if sown in the Autumn, arriving as early as February - and with each plant producing up to 25 or 30 flowers, these things flower and flower and flower and flower.
They also look really fancy and as if they'd be really hard to grow, but they're actually remarkably simple - as long as the mice don't get them before they've had a chance to get going.
When to start them?
It is widely advised that you only start anemones in the Autumn if you have some way of protecting them over the winter such as a polytunnel to plant them out into. If the corms fall below -7C they will freeze and then rot as they thaw (not great obvs!) and although they are hardy plants, they will need protection through the worst of the winter - and their flowers can easily be damaged by strong wind, rain and snow.
I will share with you, however, my own personal experience.
In the Autumn, I planted some in the mini-polytunnel I have - they ALL without fail, were stolen and munched by mice. However I had also been 'naughty' and sowed some in my raised beds and then added some garden hoops with a layer of horticultural fleece and they THRIVED. So you can get around 'don't start in Autumn if you don't have a polytunnel rule' but know that you are taking a risk.
I started with this mini-polytunnel - it was rubbish and the plastic all split in the first wind.
So then I removed the plastic and draped fleece over the hoops instead.
And here was the result by May when they were in full bloom (after a pretty rubbish start to the year weather-wise).
If in doubt, and you're not the adventurous type wait until Spring (you can start them in late February) but know you'll be dead jealous when you start to see those Autumn-sown beauties on your instagram feed months before you have a single flower. C'est la vie.
They don't start life looking pretty. When they arrive, take them out of the box and keep them somewhere cool and dark where the air can circulate until you're ready to sow them in October.
I make a plan of what is going where and usually sow the bulk in Autumn, and leave a few in reserve for a Spring sowing.
When you're ready to go, soak them first in room temperature water for 4-5 hours. You'll notice them bulk up as they absorb the water and then you're ready to go.
Tip: Make sure you plan your day properly! If you leave them in water for longer because you went out shopping and forgot about them, you are increasing the chances of them starting to rot.
Take a module tray and add a layer of (peat-free) compost then place one corm into each module with the pointed end down.
Cover completely and leave somewhere cool (by now the temperatures are usually cool enough that a greenhouse is just fine) until they begin to sprout (usually 10-14 days). Make sure the soil stays moist but not too wet - the danger here is over-watering and that will cause them to...guess what....rot. (They love a good rot these things!)
This is the stage at which they are most beloved by mice so put them somewhere completely unreachable - (and in my case add a clear lid to the tray and sellotape it down so the cannot be touched!).
Whip the lid off the minute the first one sprouts.
Continue to grow them on in their modules until they are fist-sized before planting them out into your polytunnel or beds (remember the frost cloth as soon as the temperatures start to dip).
Space them 15cm apart so you can get LOADS into a bed.
Worry about them, worry about them, worry about them all winter long.
(Or don't if you've got better things to do with your mind)
Roughly 90 days after you have sowed them, your first flowers will start to appear. The stems will be short initially but don't worry. Cut them for jam jar posies from the base of the stem and more will shoot up, getting longer and longer throughout the season.
This was taken on 17 February 2021. As these buds start to appear - this was when I started my Spring-sown anemones - following the same process as above.
If you want them to last as long as possible, cut them as the flower starts to unfurl from the bud.
Condition them - which simply means to leave ithem n a bucket full of cool water in a dark place like a garage for a few hours or overnight and then arrange.
Be prepared to be smitten.