How to force anemone corms

Do it:

Sep

Takes just:

two hours

Anemones make a beautiful indoor display, particularly at Christmas time. If you want to create a festive display of anemones, you'll need to 'force' the corms approximately 20 weeks ahead of the big occasion.

In nature, spring bulbs and corms spend the winter underground in the cold and dark, which breaks their dormancy, then warmer weather signals spring and flowering time. By forcing, you mimic this process, covering and leaving the bulbs in a fridge or cold place before bringing them into the warm.

Bulbs need enough time in the cold and dark for the root system to develop and support flowering. Use a thermometer to ascertain that your shed or garden is cold enough (it should be around 10°C). Once inside, place the bulbs or corms in a cool, north-facing window to make them last longer.

You will need

  • Florist anemone corms, such as Anemone De Caen Group
  • 9cm pots or plastic cups
  • Horticultural grit
  • Free-draining peat-free multi-purpose compost
  • or John Innes No.3 compost
  • Ornamental jar

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Florist anemones don't need to be pre-chilled. Soak them for a few hours before planting to rehydrate and plump up the wrinkled corms.

Plant in 9cm pots or plastic cups, making a few holes in the base first. Once they flower, place in decorative pots.

Layer horticultural grit in the base. Mix up a free-draining compost using multi-purpose compost or John Innes No.3 with a few handfuls of horticultural grit.

Fill two-thirds full with compost then place the corm on top. Look for a tip and stand it facing upwards. Cover with compost. Position somewhere cold and dark and check regularly for watering and pests. Once leaves appear in 10-12 weeks, bring the bulbs into the house.

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Try forcing other spring bulbs, such as Narcissus 'Hugh Town', 'Itzim' or 'Rip van Winkle', Galanthus nivalis or the grape hyacinth, Muscari aucheri 'Blue Magic'.

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