Garden Q&A: Anemones — too many or not any
Q: Why can't I grow Japanese anemones and all my neighbors can? They're downright invasive in their gardens, and I can't get a one to survive. I'm a Master Gardener and I'm stumped!
A: Fall blooming Japanese anemones are lovely plants indeed, and, yes, if they like where they are, they do have the tendency to take over the garden and spread quickly. They do prefer alkaline soil, and our soils here in Western Pennsylvania tend to be on the slightly acidic side. Performing a soil pH test will tell you how much lime to add to raise the pH to a more preferable level for your anemones. You should do this a few months before planting. I have to say, though, that most of the gardeners I know who grow Japanese anemones do not perform this step. They just plant the plants and let them go to town.
Because these plants normally grow so vigorously, I wonder next about how you have started them in the past. They typically don't do well from seed, nor do they always “catch on” when purchased as fully grown plants from a nursery. They tend to suffer from transplant shock. I have had the greatest luck growing anemones from very small divisions. The two patches I have now were started from a friend's plant.
To make a successful division, they should be lifted in early spring when the new growth is only an inch or 2 tall. Each division should have a developing shoot system as well as a piece of spindly brown root at least 2 inches long. It is very difficult to dig out a division and keep any soil on the root, so it is extremely important that as soon as you dig up the division, it immediately gets re-planted either in a pot of potting soil or directly into your garden. Choose a site with dappled shade if possible.
The next important step is to keep it very well watered through the first season. Since it will take several months for that spindly little root piece to develop into a supportive root system, it's important to keep it from drying out.
I have a feeling that in a few years you'll be writing to me asking about how to tame its aggressive growth!
Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Grow Organic” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.
Send your gardening or landscaping questions to email@example.com or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.