Earlier to flower and hardier than other Japanese anemones, this herbaceous perennial is native to open grassy slopes in northern China. Also known as windflower, it is a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, that also includes delphinium, clematis, and hellebore. Plants grow from a fibrous root system and form a clump of basal foliage up to 2′ tall. Each dark green leaf is 10-12″ long, palmately divided into three-lobed and toothed leaflets that are thickly covered with woolly whitish hairs on their underside. Stems are also covered with whitish woolly hairs. From late summer to early fall, cup-shaped flowers appear on 3-4′ long wiry stems. Each flower is 2-3″ wide and has a center of yellow stamens surrounded by 5 or 6 showy tepals that are pale pink with darker rose shadings. A good choice for borders, and informal landscapes such as cottage and woodland gardens. Flowers are good in the vase. The genus name, Anemone, is probably a corrupted Greek loan word of Semitic origin referring to the lament for the slain Adonis or Naaman, whose scattered blood produced the blood-red Anemone coronaria. The specific epithet, tomentosa, is the Latin word meaning densely woolly, and refers to the hairs on the stems and leaf undersides.
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Bloom: Pink with darker shading from late summer into fall
Size: 2-4′ H x 2-3′ W
Light: Part shade to full sun
Soil: Average, consistently moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 4-7
Care: May need staking
Pests and Diseases: Generally healthy but susceptible to leaf spot, powdery mildew, downy mildew, rust, leaf/stem smut, caterpillars, beetles, slugs and nematodes.
Propagation: Root cuttings in winter, division in spring, seed
Companion Plants: Maiden grass (Miscanthus), Joe pye weed, coneflower ‘White Swan’, Verbena bonariensis
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons