Balkan anemones or Grecian windflower bloom in mild regions in February. From March at the latest, however, every hobby gardener can enjoy the pretty and colorful flowers. Here you will find tips on planting and care.
The Balkan anemones are among the first bloomers of spring. As soon as the ice melts and the snow cover is lifted, they stretch their cute flowers towards the sun. The Balkan anemone is known to gardeners under the name ‘beautiful anemone’. The natural home of this beautiful perennial is the Caucasus, South-Eastern Europe and Asia.
Profile of Balkan anemone:
Scientific name: Anemone blanda
Plant family: buttercup family
Other names: Grecian windflower, winter windflower
Sowing time / Planting time: autumn
Flowering period: February to April
Location: sunny to partially shaded
Soil quality: sandy to loamy, moderately dry to fresh, limescale sensitive, nutritious, humus rich
Use in: Flower beds, group planting, planters, under plants, overgrowth, borders, flower garden, natural garden, pot garden, forest garden
Winter hardiness: hardy
Plant characteristics and classification of Balkan anemone
Origin of Balkan anemone
The Balkan anemone (Anemone blanda), often also called Grecian windflower or winter windflower, is one of the best known representatives of the genus of anemone from the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). The perennial can be found all over Southern Europe, where it is very widespread from the Pyrenees via Italy to Greece and Bulgaria. It grows preferably on rocky mountain slopes or on the edges of forests. But you can also find them in sparse oak forests.
The growth of the Balkan anemone is weak, the rhizomes break easily, so they must be handled with care. The tuber itself is colored black, cylindrical and heavily branched. The individual stems on which the flowers sit reach heights of between 10 and 15 cm (4 and 6 in).
The leaves of Anemone blanda are usually 3-part and grow close to the ground. The underside is hairy. They are arranged in a circle in their entirety.
In mild regions, Balkan anemones already bloom in February. Regular flowering is from March to April. Their flower color ranges from bright white to various shades from pink to violet and strong blue. The yellow stamens in the middle form a nice contrast and protrude upright. The petals are arranged in a star shape.
Planted in the garden as well as when kept in a pot, Balkan anemones thrive best in sunny to partially shaded locations. They like to be protected from wind and warm temperatures.
Balkan anemone – cultivation and care
Good drainage is essential when cultivating Grecian windflower. Sand should always be worked into heavy garden soils before planting, to make the soil looser and more permeable. It is also important that the soil is nutrient- and humus-rich .
Anemone blanda is one of the spring flowering anemones and should therefore be planted in autumn. It is advisable to put the plant in the soil immediately after purchase, as the rhizomes dry out quickly. If this is not possible, you can soak the Balkan anemone in water for one night before planting. Place the plant gently in the soil and press the covering soil only slightly, so that the delicate rhizomes do not break off.
Watering / Fertilization / Care
The perennial is undemanding and requires no maintenance. Recently planted or young Balkan anemones should be covered with some leaves or brushwood in winter.
Balkan anemones reliably form seeds and sow themselves. The best time for manual seeding is in October. To do this, dig out small holes about 5 centimeters (2 in) deep and put in the seeds. The planting distance to the neighboring plant should be at least 5 cm (2 in). In addition, the plant can be easily propagated by division in late spring as described above.
Since the plant likes to sow itself, it sometimes spreads more in the bed than you might like. To make it smaller and at the same time to multiply and replant it elsewhere, you can divide the plant. Simply cut individual pieces after flowering in late spring. They usually grow back without any problems.
Diseases and pests
Despite its filigree growth, the Balkan anemone is relatively robust against plant diseases. However, it is occasionally affected by mildew. Aphids or snails can also affect it in the garden.
The Balkan anemone is hardy. Winter protection is therefore not necessary.
Balkan anemone – use in the garden
As colorful and delicate spring bloomers, Balkan anemones are very popular in our gardens. They are also particularly suitable for planting under light woods. If the site is suitable, the plant likes to sow itself and, over time, it forms a decorative carpet. But Anemone blanda does not grow exuberantly and does not displace neighboring plants in the bed. In natural or farm gardens, it shows off to its best advantage in herbaceous borders. If you don’t have your own garden, you can also keep it in a pot on the balcony or terrace. Make sure you have good drainage here too.