Fall perennial gardens give us one last shot at colour before everything goes white. Of course there are the usual asters and mums in the fall garden, but if you are looking for something different, consider the Japanese anemone. With petals the texture of roses and cheery orange and green centres, the Japanese anemone flower blooms in soft pinks and white. The plant prefers light shade, so if you have a high tree that allows dappled sunlight beneath the canopy, the Japanese anemone will feel right at home. If you are harvesting seeds from the plant, look for the fluffy, white, cotton-ball-type structure where the flower used to be; the seeds are small, brown flecks interspersed within. Japanese anemones do best in USDA zones 4 to 8. Sow seeds in late winter.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Peat moss
- Planting pot, 4-inch, with holes in the bottom for drainage
- Plastic bag, such as a zippered freezer bag
- Misting bottle
- Gardening fork
Mix together equal parts peat moss and perlite. Pour the mixture into the planting pot and water well, allowing the excess to drain from the bottom of the pot.
Sow the Japanese anemone seeds on top of the soil and cover lightly with a one-quarter-inch layer of moist soil.
Place the pot in a plastic bag and seal the top. Place the bagged pot in the refrigerator for eight weeks. Check the pot periodically to make sure the planting medium stays moist. If it begins to dry out, mist it lightly with a misting bottle.
Remove the pot from the refrigerator and place it in an area where the temperature remains between 18.3 and 21.1 degrees C.
Transplant the Japanese anemone when the plant is 4 to 6 inches in height. If planting more than one, space them at least 18 inches apart, and 2 feet from any other plants or structures.
Amend the soil in the planting area by digging it up to a depth of 12 inches. With the gardening fork, break up any large clods of soil. Add a 3-inch layer of compost to the soil and mix it in well.
Dig a hole in the soil the same depth and width as the planting pot. Gently lower the roots of the Japanese anemone into the hole and pack soil around them.
Water the Japanese anemone well and as often as needed to maintain moist but not soggy soil.
Tips and warnings
- Germination rates for Japanese anemone seed vary widely. Look for yours to sprout from two to six weeks after sowing.
- If the temperature outdoors is below 4.44 degrees C, and will stay there for eight weeks, you can place the pot outdoors instead of the refrigerator.
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