Commonly called buttercups, ranunculus is among the prettiest flowers you can find. Existing in a diverse range of colors and patterns, these vibrant bloomers can be planted in the garden or potted to add some oomph to your living space. They are extremely eye-catching as flower bouquets or when stored in a vase. Their light and petals resemble peonies, some of the most preferred flowers on occasions such as weddings. Most people like to call them the “rose of spring”, thanks to their resemblance to garden roses.
If you’re looking to plant these flowers in your garden or perhaps some flower pots, this article can serve as your guide on how to do it right.
What Are Ranunculus?
Apart from buttercups, ranunculus also goes by the name spearworts or water crowfoots. These beautiful flowers come in a diverse range of hues, from soft pink to pale yellow, deep burgundy, and bright orange. They are characterized by thin and delicate rose-like petals that strike the eye attractively from a distance.
As mentioned earlier, ranunculus flowers are also called the “rose of spring”, thanks to their resemblance to garden roses. Their extreme beauty makes them perfect bouquet gifts for romantic occasions and events like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, among others. Bouqs has a wide selection featuring ranunculus flowers in case you’d like to surprise someone with them. They are generally symbolic of charm and beauty, but yellow buttercup flowers are known to symbolize simplicity and neatness. These cool-season flowers can be a perfect way to express kindness to friends and loved ones on any occasion.
Planting Ranunculus: How to Do It Right
When ranunculus are grown in the ideal conditions, the yield can be impressive. Below are a few tips and hacks you will appreciate when planting these beautiful bloomers.
1. Determine the planting method:
When planting ranunculus, you have three main options to choose from. These include corms, seeds, and transplants. Basically, a corm is a tiny tuber resembling an octopus with numerous arms.
Corms are the most commonly used method because the plant has higher chances of growing and thriving. Transplants, on the other hand, can be an expensive approach, whereas using seeds is not the most reliable option because the seeds may not always germinate.
2. The right planting time:
The best planting time for ranunculus will largely depend on your setup and location. Nonetheless, early Spring, late Winter, or Fall are the most advisable planting times. Fall-planted buttercups tend to produce the best yield. If you live in a colder region where temperatures get extremely low for long, you can start your ranunculus growing indoors in pots or a greenhouse. Nonetheless, make sure the planting location has decent exposure to the sun.
3. Determine your hardiness zone:
Before planting ranunculus, the other crucial step to make is determining your hardiness zone. Hardiness zones can be defined as geographic areas that encompass specific ranges of climatic conditions that affect the growth and survival of plants. According to the USDA, these zones are assigned a range of between 1 and 10. Hardiness zones 8 to 10 are best for these attractive bloomers.
4. Soak them:
Assuming you’re using corms, you will need to soak them first before planting them. Ranunculus corms should be soaked in water at room temperature, at least 3-4 hours before being planted. After soaking the corms will double in size with white hair-like roots sprouting. Just make sure they are not waterlogged to avoid rotting. Also, make sure to keep the water running minimally to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen. From there, you can plant the corms into the earth or pre-sprout them to jumpstart growth and speed up flowering.
Presporouting involves using moist potting soil in a flat-bottom seed tray, placing the soaked corms, and covering them with more soil. Leave the corms there for ten days to two weeks checking that the soil is moist and the corms don’t develop rot or mold. Once you get roots between an eighth to half an inch, you will know your corms are ready for planting.
6. Planting your corms:
This starts by preparing your growing beds. To your growing bed, generously add a significant amount of compost alongside balanced fertilizer, mixing it thoroughly with the soil. Make sure to leave at least 15cm or 9 inches between corms, planting them two to three inches deep in the soil. Also, ensure the octopus arms point downwards. 4 rows per bed are ideal.
7. Use the right soil type:
Different plants grow well in different types of soil. For ranunculus to produce a bountiful harvest, you will need to pick an area with well-draining soil. As much as they will need adequate moisture, root rot is a common occurrence when these plants are grown in soggy soil. Whether you’re potting ranunculus or growing these flowers in your garden, make sure to use soil that drains well. The soil can also be enriched with fertilizer or compost, whichever is more accessible to you.
Maintenance Tips to Get the Most Out Of Ranunculus Flowers
For them to grow and produce healthy and attractive blooms, ranunculus corms need a considerable level of care and nurturing. Below are a few simple tips you could use to keep these gorgeous bloomers properly maintained in your garden.
- Watch moisture levels: Mature ranunculus plantings are best kept moist rather than wet. Make sure to let them fully dry out before the next time you water them.
- Fertilize twice a month: To extend the life of these bloomers and ensure they produce more flowers, you will want to apply fertilizer at least fortnightly.
- Rid dead flowers: Deadheading simply means removing dead and spent-out flowers. This common practice maximizes their growth and improves their health.
- Mulch: You will also need to scatter mulch around the blooms. This will allow the soil to retain moisture, which is critical to the early growth of the flowers, plus it allows you to save time and effort when it comes to watering your flowerbed. Mulch also plays a crucial role in keeping the soil cool during warm weather, allowing your beautiful flowers to last longer.
- Don’t water them in fall: Ranunculus leaves often thin out and turn yellow towards the end of the warmer months. At this time, desist from watering the plants to allow the bulbs to dry out. You can even store some of the bulbs for the next growing season.
- Protect them from the cold: When temperatures are extremely low for extended time periods, you will want to cover ranunculus plantings with a frost cloth layer.
- Cut them before unfurling: when properly cared for, the buttercup flowers boast an impressive vase life of nearly ten days. You can maximize their vase life by cutting the flowers when they are still soft, vibrant, and yet to unfurl. Also, these flowers can be quite fragile, so make sure to observe extra caution when transporting them.
Once planted, ranunculus should start flowering after approximately 90 days. Corms planted in fall usually bloom in early spring, steadily flowering for another six or seven weeks. When planted in late winter, they can bloom by mid-spring, continuing for another 4-6 weeks.
In a nutshell, growing ranunculus requires some skill and effort. Proper care and maintenance will help you get a bountiful harvest of healthy and beautiful blooms. It’s quite a process, but the above piece should make it easy and achievable. All the best as you await an impressive ranunculus harvest in the next few weeks!