With beautiful, brightly coloured flowers, ruffled petals and straight stems, the ranunculus flower, or buttercup, is truly a showstopper!
They’re perfect for growing in the garden, then cutting and placing in vases to add colour to your home.
When it comes to growing these springtime beauties, all that’s needed is some sunlight, rich soil and regular, but light, watering. Here’s everything you need to know to grow ravishing ranunculus flowers at home.
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- What’s a Ranunculus Plant?
- How to Grow Ranunculus
- Tips for Growing Ranunculus
- Caring for Your Ranunculus
- Common Questions on Ranunculus
- Brighten Up Your Day With Ranunculus
What’s a Ranunculus Plant?
The Ranunculus is a genus made up of almost 600 species of flowers that belong to the plant family known as Ranunculaceae. The flowers are often referred to as water crowfoots, buttercups or spearworts and are easily identifiable as a result of their layers of petals. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colours, adding some much-needed vibrancy and texture to any garden
The most common colours include pink, red, gold, yellow, white and orange flowers. They can grow to be 30 centimetres high, although you can choose a dwarf plant that will only grow to about 20 centimetres in length. They’ll grow to around 30 centimetres wide. These long stalks make the plant ideal for cutting and placing in a vase, where they can last over a week.
With so many types of ranunculus to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming on where to begin. Our list of ranunculus varieties will help you decided which type you’ll want to grow.
How to Grow Ranunculus
If you’re growing ranunculus outside from bulbs or tubers, you need to soak them in water for about an hour before planting. This process helps to make the bulbs less brittle.
In warmer climates, you can plant the bulbs in the soil, but if you’re in a colder climate, we would advise you to start the growing process indoors. Plant the bulb in a sunny spot with soil providing adequate drainage and that is rich in organic matter. Ensure the area is kept moist until the flowers stop blooming.
When growing ranunculus indoors, soak the bulbs in water for an hour before planting. Choose a container with drainage holes and fill it about halfway with soil rich in organic matter. Place the bulbs in the soil with the tips sticking out, covering the rest of the bulb with soil and place the container in a warm, sunny spot.
Tips for Growing Ranunculus
When growing these flowers, you can choose between planting bulbs or buying developing plants. Ranunculus need to be planted around 10 centimetres apart.
The ranunculus thrives in sunny conditions, although they can tolerate the shade. The soil needs to have adequate drainage and be filled with organic matter. Without proper drainage, the roots will become susceptible to root rot.
The plant must remain moist while blooming and adding liquid plant foods every second month will help them to grow. To encourage blooming, deadhead the plant and to keep it tidy, trim the foliage and cut the stems. These plants are perennials, and the tubers (bulbs) can be left in the ground to bloom the following year. If you’re growing them as annuals, you may want to pull the plants out as soon as they stop blooming.
Caring for Your Ranunculus
Once planted, the soil needs to remain moist. The foliage and stems can be trimmed to keep the plant looking good. Giving the plant additional nutrients or plant food every second month will also help it to grow.
The ranunculus is one of the easiest flowers to grow and can return yearly when properly cared for. At the end of the season, some gardeners trim away the dead foliage and flowers, leaving them in the ground to grow the following season, while others pull the tubers out.
If you decide to pull out the tubers, you need to wait for the foliage to completely die off before digging them out. Place them in a cool, dry spot to dry out and then store them in a dark place until you’re ready to grow them in the springtime.
Common Questions on Ranunculus
Do ranunculus grow back every year?
Yes, these plants can be both annual or perennial and will grow back unless conditions don’t allow for this. Annuals are grown from tubers removed from the previous season while perennials often grow from tubers left in the soil.
Will ranunculus bloom all summer?
No, the ranunculus blooms in the early spring and will continue to do so until the beginning of summer. At this point, the plant will go dormant. If you are growing the plant indoors, then it is possible to have it bloom in the summer, depending on the growing conditions and when you choose to plant them.
Can ranunculus be grown in pots?
Yes, the ranunculus can be grown in pots or containers.
Can I leave ranunculus in the ground?
Yes, once the flower has stopped blooming and the foliage has died back, simply trim the dead matter away. The tubers will store energy to bloom the following growing season.
Should I deadhead ranunculus?
Yes, this will help the flower continue to bloom while getting rid of any unappealing, dead flowers or plant matter.
What to do with ranunculus after flowering?
Once the plant has finished blooming, trim away the dead foliage and deadhead any remaining flowers. If you are leaving them in the soil, trim away the dead plant matter, leaving a few stems sticking out of the ground. If you’re growing annuals, remove the tubers from the soil and store until next spring.
Is ranunculus poisonous to cats?
Yes, the flowers contain a juice that’s poisonous to not only cats but horses, cows and dogs too. These juices can irritate and damage their digestive systems.
Are ranunculi the same as peonies?
No, ranunculus flowers are buttercups. Peonies – the 70th wedding anniversary flower – belong to a different species known as Paeonia.
Brighten Up Your Day With Ranunculus
These beautiful, colourful flowers put a smile on anyone’s face and will certainly do wonders for your garden. Not only are they easy to grow, but they’ll also return year after year with minimal effort.