Anemone nemorosa (Native Wood Anemone)

Full Shade
Light/Partial Shade
Soil Type:
Most Types

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Plant Overview

This lovely native wildflower of open woodland and shady margins has starry off-white flowers waving above low dark foliage in spring.

Anemone nemorosa's flowering period overlaps with native Bluebells and they look wonderful planted together.

Good for underplanting trees and shrubs. Will slowly colonise an area to create a carpet. Flowers in March and April.

Height: 20cm

Common names: Wood Anemone; Bowbells; Bread and cheese and cider; Chimney Smocks; Crowfoot; Easter flower; Granny's Nightcap; Granny-thread-the-needle; Lady's Purse; Lady's Shimmy; Moll of the Woods; Moon flower; Nancy; Smell Smocks; Shame Faced Maiden; Smell Fox; Soldiers Buttons; Star of Bethlehem; White Soldiers; Windflower.


The sight of a carpet of white stars on a sunny day is a true sign that spring has sprung. The spring flowers are a useful source of food for sleepy foraging bees. Wood Anemones look best on-masse so if possible, plant several in a clump and for the first couple of years increase the collection for free by dividing the rhizomes.

Any shady spot will support a happy colony of Anemone, so even if you have a city garden, you can plant them in a border that's shaded by a building. Add a bucket or two of leaf-mould to the soil before planting and don't add any fertiliser.

We have several varieties of anemone available, use the search box above to explore.

History and Tradition

Anemones used to be called windflowers, perhaps because they grew in areas of wind; the Greek word anemos means 'wind. For the gardener the appearance of the little white flower heralds the start of spring. It has from classical times been a favourite for making up chaplets and garlands.

In mythology, Anemone was a nymph beloved by Zephyr, the god of the west wind. This aroused the jealousy of the goddess Flora, who banished Anemone from court

Pliny describes anemones as daughters of the wind, which would only open their flowers when the wind was blowing, an allusion which has led to it being named 'windflower. In Staffordshire it was often known as 'thunderbolt, as picking it was supposed to cause thunderstorms. It is said that when the anemone closes its petals rain is on the way. Traditionally it is thought to be a plant of luck and a protection against evil.

To dream of anemones suggests that your lover is unfaithful and should be spurned in favour of another.

In folk medicine wood anemones were used to treat headaches. Poultices containing the plant leaves were pressed to the head as a cure.

Please note: Anemone is a shallow-rooted woodland plant and the roots often do not fill the pot. We deliberately allow moss/liverwort to grow in Anemone pots because it helps to protect the rhyzomes and we do not remove it before sending the plants out. Simply plant the Anemone with the moss intact and the Anemone will continue to grow through it.



Photo: Lilly M, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

All our plants are supplied in 9cm pots unless otherwise specified. Plants in this size pot establish quickly in the garden and often outpace plants in bigger pots planted at the same time. Our potted plants can be planted immediately, unless otherwise noted, or you can leave them in their pots until you are ready to plant.
The majority of our plants are grown outdoors. This means that they follow their natural growth patterns and are ready to plant at any time of the year. If you order the plants in winter, they are likely to be dormant and died back to ground level, ready to shoot again in spring - just like the herbaceous perennials in your own garden. Very occasionally, in winter, we may indicate on the packing slip that a plant needs to be hardened off before planting out. This will be because it has just come out of a polytunnel. If you have any questions about our plants or growing methods, please feel free to drop us an email.
We grow most of what we sell ourselves, in our nursery in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Our prices include VAT at 20%.