This time of year, when heat-loving summer flowers are fading and many cool-weather bulbs are just starting to wake, it's refreshing to see the Japanese anemone in full bloom.
A graceful plant with 1-foot, dark green, semi-hairy leaves and 2- to 4-foot high stems sporting semi-double flowers in white or pink, this hardy perennial blooms September through November, although it looks good even when not in bloom.
"Though it's not a commonly grown plant, Japanese anemone is a great addition to many gardens," said Norm Yoder, co-owner of Friday House Gardens, an Orange nursery specializing in old-fashioned perennials, herbs and antique bulbs.
Some varieties commonly found in the nursery include September Charm and Pink, which are both pink, and Honorine Jobert, which is white.
Now is the time to plant Japanese anemones, which can be found in most nurseries in 1-gallon containers.
Yoder offers the following planting tips.
* Plant in semi-shade. Japanese anemones prefer a location somewhat protected from harsh sun. Yoder grows his under deciduous trees that shade them during the hot summer months and give them more light during cooler months.
They look best under high branching trees or in front of tall plants such as shrubbery.
* Consider eventual size. Japanese anemones grow into a leafy clump that is about 2 feet across and around.
* Prepare the soil. Amend with homemade or bagged compost. Japanese anemones like a fairly rich soil that is well-draining. If a spot is slow-draining, improve drainage before planting or choose another site.
* Try containers. Japanese anemones will grow in containers as long as the pot is large enough. Replant a 1-gallon anemone into a 12- to 14-inch pot. When the plant becomes root-bound, repot to a larger container or divide the roots in spring, discard excess and replant.
* Fertilize twice a year. Japanese anemones aren't heavy feeders. Feed them in the fall and spring with a slow-release chemical fertilizer or organic fertilizer.
* Water regularly but don't over water. Japanese anemones aren't drought tolerant, but they aren't overly thirsty either. Keep the soil slightly moist but never soggy.
* Be patient. Japanese anemones are slow to establish but will fill out and spread quickly once they get going, as long as their roots aren't disturbed. They are long-lived perennials that will grace your yard with flowers every fall for many years.
* Stimulate new growth by removing dead leaves and cutting spent flower spikes off at the plant base.
* Propagate in spring. Japanese anemones are easily propagated from root divisions. Simply dig up the plant and separate the roots into 1- or 2-inch clumps, which can then be replanted. By fall, they should be blooming again.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
OCTOBER PLANTING GUIDE
October is one of the best gardening months in Orange County. Our weather is not yet chilly, but by now the sweltering days of summer have usually passed.
It's also time for a changing of the guard from warm-season to cool-season crops. The following is a sampling of what can be planted this month.
FLOWERS: from seed or starter plants
* Researched by JULIE BAWDEN DAVIS / for The Times