The Pasque Flower is one of the most beautiful members of the buttercup family (the Ranunculaceae). It has large, rich purple flowers that are on long stems. The leaves and stems are covered with long, downy hairs. It is one of the first herbaceous perennials to bloom in the spring. Other common names include wind flower, meadow anemone, and Easter flower. It is native to Europe (Great Britain and France to the Ukraine). Anemone pulsatilla is native to dry meadows of central and northern continental Europe and the British Isles. It is hardy in zones 4-8. The plant has a thick and fibrous rootstock that becomes woody with age. The finely divided, stalked leaves emerge from this base in early spring, although the majority of the leaves develop after the flowers. The leaves are pinnate, cleft to the base, forming a mound 10-12” tall. The entire plant is covered with soft, silvery hairs. Plants remain attractive through the summer, although the leaves may die back in late summer.
Upright, bell-shaped flowers emerge shortly after the first leaves. The 1½” flowers are borne singly on stems 5-8” tall. The huge purple goblets are furry on the outside and silky inside, with bright golden stamens. Fertilized flowers produce a spherical seedhead with silky plume-like styles. The attractive silvery seedheads remain on the plant for several weeks. Ripe seed is dispersed by the wind. This low growing plant is suitable for rock gardens or the front of the perennial border. Pasque flower combines well with spring-flowering bulbs and ground covers. Grow pasque flower in well-drained soil in full sun. This species is quite drought tolerant once established. Best grown in fertile, humusy, gritty, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Good soil drainage is essential. Best performance occurs in cool climates where plants are also more apt to tolerate drier conditions.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 5 weeks.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite.
- Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the container.
- Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet.
- The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.