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Snowdrop Anemone Is a Pretty Spring Flower for Shade

Virtues: Snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris) is a spring-flowering perennial perfect for the woodland garden. This easy-to-please plant provides cheerful flowers, interesting foliage and silky seed heads. Its early- to mid-spring bloom will feed emerging pollinators. Though it can spread, it is easy to keep in check. Snowdrop anemone was named Perennial of the Year in 2022 by the Great Plants for the Great Plains program.


Common name: Snowdrop anemone

Botanical name: Anemone sylvestris

Exposure: Part sun to full shade

Flowers: Snowdrop anemone blooms in April or early May (mid-spring), with lightly scented, two-inch, snow-white, cup-shaped flowers with showy yellow anthers in their center. Each flower grows on its own single stem. Wooly white seed heads appear after the blooms fade. A second flowering may occur in early autumn.

Foliage: Leaves are green, deeply lobed and glossy, with fine hairs covering their underside.

Habit: Herbaceous perennial reaching 12 to 18 inches tall and 8 to 12 inches wide.

Origin: Forests of northern Europe

How to grow it: Snowdrop anemone is not fussy about soil and it can adapt to a range of conditions. However, its growth (and spread) will be most vigorous in loose, moist soils. It’s easy to dig up should the gardener want to reduce the spreading clump. Plant it in part sun to full shade and provide regular water as it is getting established. Zones 4–8.

Image by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0