Japanese Anemone. White flower with yellow centre

Choosing what to grow in your garden is one of the joys of owning a plot of land. However, when a plant chooses you, it can be difficult to eradicate these unwanted guests and many gardeners find themselves at their wit’s end trying to remove certain plants from their outdoor space. Japanese anemone is one of the most common garden invaders in the UK, and while they may look beautiful, they can be a real pain. But how do you get rid of Japanese anemones?

In the simplest terms, getting rid of this plant is going to take a lot of effort and hard work on your part. The Japanese anemone really does want to set up a home in your garden and it isn’t going to back down without a fight.

While this sounds like something out of a gardener’s nightmare, it is possible and with the right attitude, you may be able to free your garden from this pest once and for all.

What Is Japanese Anemone?

At first glance, anyone might wonder why you wouldn’t want such a delicate, pretty-looking flower in your garden. The Japanese anemone is a perennial plant with beautiful coloured flowers ranging from light cream and white to stunning pink. Some of the most common varieties will grow up to 75cm but this can vary greatly.

With flowers blooming in late summer and lasting all the way through into October, many people use this plant as a backdrop or a border. They are also incredibly easy to care for and this can lull gardeners into a false sense of security. While they may be pretty much maintenance-free, these pesky plants will quickly take over an area causing a nuisance wherever they go.

What’s The Issue With The Japanese Anemone?

If you have planted a Japanese anemone in your garden, you’d better get used to seeing it because once established, it’s difficult to get these plants to move on. The problem is that being such low maintenance and hardy plant, the Japanese anemone will quickly take over any flower bed or border that it is planted in.

This might be an issue from an aesthetic point of view because your other plants will no longer be able to take centre stage. Moreover, the Japanese anemone will suck many of the nutrients out of the soil, leaving the other plants deficient which could affect their health. If you want all of your plants to be equally healthy, it is best to avoid planting them alongside Japanese anemones.

The Best Way To Get Rid Of Japanese Anemone

If you have found yourself with a crop of unwanted Japanese anemones, you’re not alone. Many other gardeners are facing the same problems and no matter what they try, this persistent plant keeps making an appearance; even when gardeners believe that they have cleared every root.

The problem is that most people want to be rid of their Japanese anemones quickly, and in modern times, we aren’t accustomed to waiting for things. When we realise that removing this plant can take some serious patience, it can be frustrating. But without it, you will likely be stuck with the plant forever, so if there was ever a time to develop this trait, now would be it.

What You Shouldn’t do

Before we look at what you need to do, let’s explore what you shouldn’t do. A lot of homeowners make the mistake of spending an entire weekend digging down into the ground to try and remove every last shoot and root associated with this plant.

At the end of their laborious task, the gardeners will step back and breathe a sigh of relief as they see no more Japanese anemone taking over their space. But this pleasure is short-lived because as little as a week later, those shoots have reappeared… but how?

When you dig down into the ground, you will be able to remove quite a lot of the offending plant’s roots. However, you are never going to get all of them, so this reappearance is less related to the job you’ve done and more to the stubborn nature of this plant.

But one thing you must not do is attempt to dig up the ground again. If you do this, you will almost certainly reveal further roots and remove them but any that are not visible are being distributed around the soil. What does this cause? Further growth.

Less is More

Where Japanese anemone is concerned; less is more. You will need to spend that weekend digging down to between 12 and 15 inches and pulling up as many roots as you can find. It does pay to be as thorough as possible here but don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure because you have a long road ahead.

Once this initial part of the work is done, you will need to wait for the new shoots to appear which will typically take around one week. It is terribly important to resist the urge to start digging again, but as we have mentioned, doing this won’t yield favourable results.

Instead, try handpicking each of the shoots out of the ground and discarding them far away from your garden. This is a process that you will need to repeat week after week for the foreseeable future, so it is worth scheduling it into your gardening routine. Typically, you can expect the process to take around two years at which point, the shoot growth will slow down dramatically until it eventually ceases altogether.

What About Using Herbicides?

Many gardeners have an aversion to using herbicides such as Round-Up but in some cases, these can prove to be very effective. In the case of Japanese anemone, however, this method will not provide any quicker solution than pulling out the new shoots. So, you might as well stick with the pulling method since this will be kinder in the garden.

What If I Want Japanese Anemones?

For some people, the Japanese anemone is a beautiful plant that they feel should be included in their garden. However, they quickly realise the damaging effect it can have and wish they had never planted it.

But if you have fallen in love with the delicately coloured flowers of this plant, there may still be a way that you can include it in your garden without affecting the rest of the plant life. Planting Japanese anemones in containers or in a flower bed all of their own will prevent them from interfering with anything else in the garden.


Japanese anemone is a very attractive flowering plant that is found in gardens across the UK. While it is pretty, it is also incredibly invasive and will soon take over the area it has been planted, sapping the energy and nutrients from the soil which means all other local plants will suffer.

Removing the plant is a time-consuming and drawn-out process, but it can be done. The key is to remain patient and resist the urge to continually dig up the ground after you have done this the first time. It may take up to two years, but regular picking of the area should be enough to rid your garden of this pesky plant once and for all.

Garden Doctor Trev

Garden Doctor Tips

“After the first major dig, all you need to do is pull new shoots just like when weeding!”

“After that first major dig to get to the roots, do not try digging again, you may make the problem worse!”

“Don’t plant Japanese anemones in the first place!”

“Time and patience are key, herbicides will not give you better or even faster results!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Japanese anemone invasive?

Invasive species are a serious problem in the natural world. They can cause irreversible damage to ecosystems and threaten native plants and animals. The Japanese anemone is one such invasive plant that has been introduced in Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan for ornamental purposes.

Do anemones come back every year?

The answer is yes, anemones do come back every year. They are a hardy species that can withstand the harshest of conditions, which is why they are often found in coastal areas where saltwater and cold air meet. The variety known as the “Japanese anemone” has even been observed to survive when buried under several inches of snow!

How do you get rid of Japanese anemones?

You can get rid of an anemone by digging down and removing the roots. It is important to only do this once as you may cause the problem to spread. Once the main roots have been lifted, just pull any new growth as soon as it appears as if you are weeding. This process can usually take up to 2 years before the plant has fully been removed!

About Me

Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.

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