Snowdrop anemone – info, planting, care and tips

Snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris)
Snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris)

The snowdrop anemone transforms light wooded edges and sunny beds into a sea of flowers. Here are tips for planting and caring for the spring bloomer.

Profile of snowdrop anemone:

Scientific name: Anemone sylvestris

Plant family: buttercup family (Ranunculaceae)

Other names: snowdrop windflower

Sowing time: autumn

Planting time: spring

Flowering period: April to June

Location: sunny to partially shaded

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, calcipholous, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: group planting, underplanting, overgrowing, natural garden, forest garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-31 °C / -25 °F)

Toxicity: slightly poisonous

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of snowdrop anemone

Plant order, origin and occurrence of snowdrop anemone

The snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris) belongs to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and is native to Central and Eastern Europe as far as the Caucasus. It feels particularly at home in sunny scrub- and pine forests, but it can also be found on roadsides, embankments and in herbaceous meadow steppes. The entire plant is poisonous.

Characteristics of snowdrop anemone


Anemone sylvestris reaches a height of 30 to 50 centimeters (12 to 20 in). It has a hairy stem and woody roots that spread by runners. The rhizome is very dark, almost black. The snowdrop anemone grows very densely under optimal conditions and forms polster.


The sessile leaves of the snowdrop windflower, as the plant is also called, are five-part, unevenly sawn and heavily lobed. They are dark green in color and have shaggy hairs.


The five- or six-petalled flowers appear from April to June and are creamy white with yellow stamens. The single flower is cup-shaped and can reach a diameter of up to 7 centimeters (2.8 in). Usually there is only one flower on one of the slender stems, rarely two. The snowdrop anemone gives off a pleasant scent.


Snowdrop anemone forms woolly pods after flowering.

Snowdrop anemone – cultivation and care


The warmth-loving snowdrop anemone prefers sunny to partially shaded locations. It feels particularly at home in the light shade of deciduous trees.


The soil for the snowdrop anemone should be well-drained and fresh. Ideally, the substrate is loose, deep and rich in lime, humus and nutrients.

Planting snowdrop anemone

A maximum of 15 plants are required per square meter (10 sq ft) and the planting distance should be around 25 centimeters (10 in). The snowdrop anemone is best planted in small groups, as it comes into its own in a group.


It is important to water moderately but regularly. If the plant is in partial shade, watering should be less, but should not be neglected if the drought persists.


The fertilization of the snowdrop anemone concentrates on the flowering period. It is advisable to use horn shavings or another organic slow release fertilizer. If you want to plant in the ground in spring, you can start preparing the soil as early as autumn.

If the location for the planting in spring is already determined in autumn, the hobby gardener can do preparatory work. A layer of leaves is spread out at the chosen location. Over the winter, humus will form at the later planting site. In spring, the soil is enriched with compost immediately before planting.


The snowdrop anemone forms runners and can develop a very strong urge to spread, especially in warm locations. Therefore, make sure to choose competitive plant partners. If the snowdrop windflower is too willing to spread, you can keep it in check by dividing it regularly.


The hobby gardener should withhold from pruning the plants. There are several reasons for this. The early flowering varieties are able to self-seed. If you want to save yourself the propagation of the snowdrop anemones and want new plants, you should therefore not remove the flowers early.

By cutting back faded stems, the plants are stimulated to re-bloom. The leaves, on the other hand, should remain on the plant for as long as possible. Only yellowed leaves should be cut off. The plants supply themselves with nutrients through the leaves until late autumn, which are stored in the roots and ensure the strength for a rich flowering in the following year.


The snowdrop anemone can be propagated using several techniques. By dividing it is propagated in early spring, sowing takes place in autumn. Propagation by root cuttings is also possible, this should be carried out in late autumn.

Diseases and pests

The snowdrop anemone can be attacked by anemone blight, in which the stems and leaves have dark, bubble-shaped spore beds. Affected parts of the plant should be removed immediately. Rust can also form on the snowdrop anemone, as can powdery mildew. There are also various viral diseases that can affect the plant.


The snowdrop anemone is hardy down to -31 °C / -25 °F. There are no special measures to be taken.

Use in the garden

Snowdrop anemone is suitable for overgrow on sunny wooded edges or under light wooded trees in natural gardens. The plant fulfills an important function as an early pasture for bees. It naturally likes to grow together with the tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum). Suitable plant partners are the common columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris), the mountain sedge (Carex montana), the stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) and the dwarf catnip (Nepeta racemosa).


  • The variety ‘Flore Pleno Elise Fellmann’ has beautiful, double flowers that are greenish at the beginning, but later turn into pure white. Flowering time is from May to June. This variety grows only a little and is happy about an occasional fertilizer.
  • ‘Spring Magic’, on the other hand, is a very fast-growing variety that flowers from April to May
  • The already very old variety ‘Macrantha’ blooms at the same time and produces particularly large flowers
  • With only 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 in), ‘Wienerwald’ is a rather low variety with large flowers and a clumpy habit. Its flowering time is also from April to May

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