Poppy Anemone

Wildly popular as cut flowers, Anemone coronaria are just as at home in an ornamental garden as they are in a floral arrangement. With papery petals in an array of colors arranged around a striking dark central eye, the blooms bear a strong resemblance to poppies.

Poppy Anemone

Anemone coronaria is also known as the poppy anemone, windflower, and Spanish marigold. Perennial in its native habitats — Israel, Greece, Turkey, and throughout the Middle East — in cooler climates it is typically cultivated as an ornamental flower.

The Poppy Anemone in Legend and Myth
Poppy Anemone

In Arabic, the poppy anemone is called “Shaqa’iq An-Nu’man,” which can be translated literally as “the wounds/pieces of Nu’man.” It is widely believed that the origins of this name date to ancient times. Tammuz, the Summerian god of food and plants, was called Nea’man in Phoenician. In Greek mythology, Tammuz most likely became Adonis, the god who died of wounds inflicted while hunting. He was said to be transformed into a blood-stained flower that grew where he fell. The Phoenician “Nea’man” is most likely the origin of the Arabic “An-Nu’man” which eventually became Anemone in the Greek translation.

Alternatively, the name might have also come from the last Lakhmid king of Al-Hirah (582-c.609 AD), An-Nu’man III Bin Al-Munthir. During his reign, he was known to have officially protected the Anemone coronaria flower. Ancient folklore holds that after the death of the king, the flower sprung up over An-Nu’man’s grave — an interesting myth that mirrors that of Adonis.

Windflower Significance Today

The Hebrew name for the anemone poppy is “kalanit metzuya.” The literal translation is “common bride,” a reference to the delicate and precious beauty of the flower, not unlike a bride walking down the aisle. So beloved are Anemone coronaria blooms in Israel that they were elected the national flower in 2013. They are a protected species in the country, and each year during bloom season, from mid-January through the final week of February, a festival in the southern region of Negev celebrates the widely admired plant. The festival, called Darom Adom, includes bike tours, marches, and races through the fields of the region painted red with blossoms. It is a wonderful time to experience the anemone poppy in its native habitat and get a taste of the culture where it hails from.

Poppy Anemone
Popular A. coronaria Varieties
Poppy Anemone

While the native species of the anemone poppy are red, there are other varieties as well:

Can I Grow Anemone coronaria Successfully?
Poppy Anemone

Most gardeners find anemones are a challenge to cultivate from seed but are shockingly easy to grow from bulbs. They are rabbit- and deer-resistant (because all parts of the plant are toxic when ingested), so they need no protection from hungry beasts. The claw-like bulbs of the anemone poppy are called corms, and perform best when fall-planted in for warmer climates and spring-planted where it is colder.

Find a sunny spot with excellent drainage and soak the corms for several hours before planting. They will perform best in clayey soils if you add organic material such as compost and raise the level several inches to improve drainage. Although anemones are generally drought-tolerant, they will benefit from a watering schedule. Plant corms 5 inches deep and spaced at least 3 to 6 inches apart. Anemone poppies will add beautiful color and interest to borders, flower beds, rock gardens, and cottage gardens.

Poppy Anemone

To propagate anemone poppies, wait until the summer when they have died back and become completely dormant. Using a forked implement, lift tubers carefully to avoid damaging them. Next, divide the tubers into individual corms and either replant them immediately or store them somewhere dark, cool, and dry to replant later in the autumn or spring.

Size: 10 in– 2 ft (25-60 cm) tall

Hardiness: USDA Hardiness Zones 7–10

Light Duration : Full sun

Soil: Well-drained

Blooming Time: Spring