No longer just a spring flower, these gardeny blooms are becoming more popular and available for Christmas designs.
Botanically known as Anemone coronaria (uh-NEM-oh-nee kor-oh-NAW-ree-uh), these flowers’ common names include wind poppy, windflower and lily-of-the-field.
Anemones have cup-shaped, poppylike blooms that can open to about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. There are single-flowered forms (‘De Caen’ group) as well as semidouble and double forms (‘St. Brigid’ group). These flowers have a whorl, or collar, of lacy foliage just under the blooms, which are made up of five or more petal-like sepals. Stems are leafless, somewhat fragile and usually range from 12 to 18 inches in length.
Colors include white, blue and a range of reds and violets, including scarlet, rose, pink, burgundy, mauve, lavender, orchid, purple and blue-violet. Bicolor varieties, primarily red, rose or pink and white, also are available. The centers of these flowers are generally black; however, some white varieties have “neutral” (white, cream, yellow or light green) centers.
Depending on variety and grower, these flowers are available nearly year-round—approximately September through June, give or take—from a combination of domestic and international producers.
Anemones tend to be fragile, so look for any signs of bruising, mold or discolored foliage. Also, choose only flowers that are just beginning to open and that have thick, sturdy stems.
outside the box
Anemones are easily water stressed and prone to wilting, so unpack them as soon as they arrive in your shop, and remove any stem bindings. Leave sleeves on at this point, until flowers are hydrated, to help encourage straight stems.
on the waterfront
Recut stem ends with a sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch to eliminate dirt and microbes. Immediately dip or place stem ends into a hydration solution to help the flowers absorb water quickly, then place them into a properly proportioned flower-food solution—either regular flower food, bulb food (Anemones are grown from tubers) or low-dose nutrient solution (Anemones benefit little from the sugar in flower-food solutions, which is why low-dose, or holding, solution can be used).
Immediately after processing Anemones, place them into a floral cooler, at 33 F to 38 F, to hydrate for at least two hours before selling or arranging them.
Placing Anemones into storage containers with freshly cut daffodils is not recommended because the sap daffodils exude can shorten these flowers’ vase life.
Leave sleeves on bunches of Anemones, and stand the bunches vertically in their storage containers to ensure straight stems (flower stems continue to grow and twist after harvest). Remove sleeves following hydration to facilitate air circulation among the blooms.
Anemones are highly sensitive to ethylene gas, which causes petals to drop. Make sure your purchases are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower or during shipping, and protect them from sources of ethylene (fruit, decaying flowers/foliage, cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust) in your shop and during delivery.
Vase life at the consumer level is relatively short—three to eight days—so it is best to sell Anemones within two days of receipt in your store.
Because of a strong irritant oil Anemones can release, wearing gloves while handling these flowers can prevent contact dermatitis in some people. Also, ingestion of any parts of these flowers can cause minor stomach upset in some people and animals.
family affairs Anemones are members of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family, and in addition to buttercups (Ranunculus), they are related to hellebores (Helleborus), love-in-a-mist (Nigella), larkspurs and Delphiniums, monkshood (Aconitum), columbines (Aquilegia) and Clematis.
a variety of varieties
There are many cultivar groups in cut Anemones. Some of the most prevalent today are ‘Carmel’, ‘Cristina’, ‘Galilee’, ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Marianne’, ‘Meron’, ‘Mistral’, ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘San Piranness’, ‘Tetra’ and ‘Wicabri’.
home sweet home
what’s in a name
Anemones are native to the eastern Mediterranean region, from Greece through southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
The botanical name Anemone is often said to be derived from the Greek work “anemos,” which means wind, an allusion to the frailness and lightness of the blooms. Another theory is that Anemone is a derivative of the name Adonis, the youthful Greek god who was killed while hunting a wild boar. Aphrodite, his true love, sprinkled his blood with nectar, which produced these scarlet flowers.