Am I Crazy to Plant Japanese Anemones?

People have told me that I was crazy to plant Japanese Anemones (Anemone x hybrida), that I was opening my garden to an uncontrollable thug. But I did it anyway.


One reason: it has such sweet flowers. At least ‘Honorine Jobert’, my favorite variety, does. I mean, look at the photo above – could that be the face of a thug? Personally, I don’t find the pink varieties nearly so fetching.


Another reason: it emerges late, and seems to be a good seasonal successor to spring bulbs. And a third reason: they seem to tolerate a fair amount of shade.

Right now I have ‘Honorine Jobert’ in two spots in the back garden. There’s one in the border along the west side of the garden, and five in the border along the east side, adjoining the patio. Only the single plant on the west side is blooming. It was planted last year.


Those on the east side are struggling a bit. There’s one I planted in the spring. It looks like it will bloom later in the month.


There’s another four I planted during the summer. Why do I keep making that mistake? These really suffered during the hot, dry September while we were in Japan. They won’t bloom this year, but they survived. I’ve been giving them lots of water. Next year I hope to see flowers.


On a completely unrelated front, I have to say I find the Toad Lilies (Tricyrtis formosana) flowers to be absolutely fascinating.


We had another species but it was gobbled up by rabbits. T. formosana, on the other hand, seems to be rabbit-proof. They add an exotic touch to the fall garden. I would like to see them settle in and form some nice colonies.

That’s all for now.

54 Comments on “Am I Crazy to Plant Japanese Anemones?

  1. I’ll leave the judgement of your sanity to a psychological professional. (Do be sure to share your desire to roll around on the ground at the fragrance of Oriental lilies.) However, I enjoy Japanese anemones very much for their late and long bloom time and white is especially refreshing in the autumn! They can spread a bit but I’d rather be pulling these from where they’re not wanted than some other weed that would undoubtedly pop up.

  2. I love Japanese anemones, and from our point of view, they are very hardy members of a garden. I know they spread, but are not hard to dig up if they are in unwanted places. (also very forgiving during hot weather, they perk up, with watering) Here in Canberra they flower in autumn, the only flower in the garden and at night they are so white they look like lights in the garden, the flowers are wonderful.

    Your toad lilies are pretty, they are new to me, they look like orchids.

  3. Go for it!! Life is too short not to have a plant you love, and a fall bloomer at that. I wish they’d be a thug in my garden. I just cannot get them to survive, sigh. Same with toad lilies.

  4. They do spread rather but I don’t mind, they are always welcome. I agree the white ones are prettier.

  5. I wish I could grow Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’, I love her! Sadly it’s too dry here for them to grow without lots of irrigation. The thing about a ‘thug’ is that it’s just a plant in exactly the right place and I can never understand why so many people see this as a problem!!!!!!

      • Yes, that’s true but I also think a lot of people spend huge amounts of time getting something to grow that doesn’t like their conditions and they don’t mind that at all. I suppose in the end it all comes down to “right plant, right place”

  6. I’m in the “go for it” camp. Such a lovely white flower and so welcome in the fall. As for the toad lilies…wowsah! So exotic looking!

  7. No not crazy at all, I would say that, as I’ve planted quite a few myself! Love the white Honorine Jobert she shows up so well in the shade, love the toad lilies too!

  8. I really like Japanese anemones, but have never grown them…yet! Those toad lilies are interesting…they look smaller than the ones I’ve seen in catalogs, but I think they’re prettier, too!

  9. I fell in love with Honorine when I first saw her in France, and right away put several in my Chapel Hill garden. They spread like crazy…coming up in the midst of peonies, daylilies, etc. Pink ones that were a gift were even more transportational. BUT, I loved Honorine and ended up planting her in a very large black plastic pot with the bottom out and sunk in the garden. In three years it filled the pot to the edge and hadn’t escaped. I haven’t been back to that garden in 12 years so I don’t know how it ended. Enjoy her; she’s a beauty.

  10. I have Honorine Joubert AND toad lilies, They are both gorgeous. The anemone has a tendency to flop over the path when it blooms, so I will prop it up next year. Someone gave me an aster with unusual leaves. It has pretty light mauve flowers and is 6′ tall, combining well with the white anemone. It spreads too. I believe I have discovered that it is a Siberian aster.

  11. I don’t have much trouble with HJ. She shuffles around in her area. I think it often gets too dry here in the summer and she behaves herself. If I don’t want here someplace, such as in the gravel path, I just pull it out. The pink one I have, Robustissima, lives up to it’s name, Robust… It will run over and through other plants. I hasn’t done well this summer with the drought. It didn’t bloom much at all. I had to start watering it and everything else for that matter.

  12. I love Honorine too, but some of the pale pinky ones are very lovely. Mine all get a lot of sun and start flowering at the end of July or beginning of August. I have never had problems with them spreading… mostly too dry and with my poor soil… ! Hope they flower for you next summer!

  13. It’s such a lovely, lovely flower, though, and so photogenic. They are not so much a thug here because of our semi-arid climate. They don’t love dry. I have a little pink one and I like it a whole lot. It’s confined in a small planter that is surrounded by concrete, so besides the dry, not much room to roam.

  14. No, I don’t think you’re crazy at all. I don’t have any Japanese Anemones, but I enjoy seeing them at botanical gardens. It’s wonderful to have plants in the garden that flower up until the frost. Re: the Tricyrtis, I had a couple of cultivars that lasted a few years and then didn’t come back. Maybe the rabbits ate them. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. They’re lovely bloomers, though.

  15. Some of the pink fall anemones are much more thuggish than ‘Honorine Jobert’. I would never want to be without it.

  16. I love them, but they do indeed spread like wildfire once established. I’m going to have to dig some of mine up in the spring when the ground is soft.

  17. I love Japanese anemones, especially the white ones. I hadn’t heard they could be thugish, mine suffered from wilt this year, the flowers are fine though. I do love your toad lilies!xxx

  18. I’m on the fence about Japanese anemones. I have some that look like yours but are a light pink color. They are gorgeous and I love the blooms, but yes, complete and utter thug. It would run completely rampant and mow over every plant in my shade garden if I didn’t pull out a bunch every year. (And I only planted them 3 or 4 years ago!) I think about ripping them all out, but oh those flowers!

  19. I must confess I also like Japanese anemones. I have a pink one since years in my garden. And yes – it does spread. It grows in a shady space of the garden. I think it fits perfect there.
    I’m happy whenever a plant decides that it likes my garden soil!

  20. I have tried anemones twice with no luck. Not sure what my problem was but I do love the look of them.

  21. I’m CRAZY about my Honorine de Jobert to the point where she is welcome to take over as much territory as she likes. I just brought home a toad lily called ‘Blu Shing Toad’. How’s that for a sense of humor? She’s a beauty and daintier than the T. hirta I already had.

    • Blue Shing Toad. Very clever. There’s a kosher Chinese restaurant near me called Ten Li Chow. “Ten li” is Hebrew for “give me”.

  22. Hello Jason, I must be crazy right along with you as I’ve ordered Japanese Anemones to be planted at the very back of the garden, right under the trees in the dry shade, making for very challenging conditions. I should be able to keep them under control there.

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