Royalty has a great sense of timing. The queen of the fall flower bed, Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’, dons her soft pink robes just as other flowers are bowing out for the year. In spring and summer, the nondescript grapeleaf foliage of this perennial is easily overlooked, but in August, when it bursts into bloom, the tall, wide-branching stems of this hardy Japanese anemone turn into a hazy pink cloud crawling with delirious bumblebees. With a wave and a nod, this graceful beauty bestows majesty and magic on her autumn kingdom.
Common name: Grapeleaf anemone, windflower
Botanical name: Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 3 to 4 feet
· Sun: Full sun to part shade
· Soil: Rich in organic material
· Moisture: Moist
· Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil.
· Pruning: None needed.
· Fertilizer: None needed.
· By division.
Pests and diseases
· Vulnerable to nematodes, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and leaf smut.
· Common pests include slugs, caterpillars, and flea beetles.
· ‘Robustissima’ is tall and slender, and may need staking. Or plant it near a fence or a wall for support.
· Bees love grapeleaf anemone.
· Grapeleaf anemone and other Asian anemones are wonderful for late summer and early fall color. With their open, airy habit, they look particularly beautiful in front of evergreens or other dark foliage.
· A. tomentosa ‘Robustissima’ has soft pink blossoms. It’s also known as A. vitifolia ‘Robustissima’. The species, A. vitifolia, has white blossoms.
All in the family
· There are about 120 species of anemone in temperate regions around the globe. Many are small, low-growing plants only a few inches high; others grow 3 to 5 feet tall.
· Some of the most popular anemones for gardens are Grecian windflower (A. blanda), Japanese anemone (A. x hybrida), and Chinese anemone (A. hupehensis). Many gorgeous cultivars have been developed for all these species, and the species themselves have been crossed to form hybrids.
(Text by Elizabeth Noll, photo of Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’ by Tracy Poser)