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HOW TO PLANT, GROW, AND CARE FOR Ranunculus

Ranunculus

Ranunculus is known for its lustrous yellow flowers. The genus Ranunculaceae has over 600 species and the famous ones are spearworts, water crowfoots and buttercups. It is usually a spring flower but you can see flowers blooming and gracing the garden in summers too.  The plants grow as colonizers, occupying space as and when they get it. The growing pattern is almost as aggressive as garden weed in the gardens.  One of the species Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium, known as water crowfoot is found in water. They prefer growing in water, be it still or running one. However, depending on the flow of water, the species will show two different types of leaves.  The floating leaves will be broader whereas the underwater leaves are supposed to be thread-like. One of the ranunculus species, R. aquatilis acclimatize and grows a new pattern of leaves that stand somewhere between floating broader leaves and thread leaves.

The plant is the food of many larvae of Lepidoptera species.  Many gardeners have taken a liking to its large and bright flowers as they add a ornamental charm to the garden.

The plant usually requires well-drained soil. If you find that water puddles at a site, it is time to switch the plant to some other location.  It is very important that you pay attention to the drainage.  You can also add manure to the soil to keep the drainage in check. Organic and decomposed manure such as ground bark and peat moss work best with the soil.  These are easily available as well.

Apart from well-drained soil, the plant requires full sun to grow well. You need to plant the bulbs at least in 2” deep holes, keeping at least 4” to 6” space between. The bulb initially will resemble bananas, making it easier for you to differentiate between the up and down side.  The banana shape will go inside and down.

After planting the bulbs, water the bulbs thoroughly.  The flowering phase starts in the spring however, you can see the plant growing as the roots and sprouts taking form in the autumn.  The plant takes a liking to winter as it starts growing and expanding.

Ranunculus flowers make for awesome fresh flower bouquets and it has been observed by many gardeners that more you cut the blooming flowers, the more the plant become pronounced.  When the blooming season is passed, it is advised to keep the foliage as-it-is.  The leaves make the plant prepare for the next round of growth season. Though watering the plant is advised against during the dormancy period. You can keep watering the plant once the plant rolls back into the active period and enters into the next growth cycle.  The dormant period of the plant can be recognized by the yellow and wilted leaves that turn into brown. Once you have spotted the brown color of the leaves, you can remove the foliage and let the plant remain as a stump.

Container Gardening with Ranunculus:

Container gardening can be easily done with ranunculus species. All you need to do is to fill with containers with well-drained and good quality soil.  Though, be mindful that the container has to be completely well-drained or else the plant will rot.   The container size should be able to accommodate the plant easily.

Even with the container gardening, the plant requires full sun.

Please note that the spring-planted ranunculus bloom in the late summer during their first year of planting whereas in the subsequent years, the blooming phase happen in the spring afterwards, especially in the frost-free regions.

The blooms often resemble roses and nowadays they are being used in abundance in wedding flower décor and wedding bouquets.  The flowers generally have an extended life and with appropriate flower food you can extend the vase life further more.

Differentiating the Ranunculus bulbs

Larger bulbs have more food and hence, are big in size. There is also a considerable size in quality of the bulbs.  The more food the bulbs have, the more energy and life force they can provide to the plant. Moreover, the plant grown out of the strong bulb is also said to be stronger and has more chances of survival as well as larger and brightest of the blooms.

Site to Plant Ranunculus:

Ranunculus prefers cool climates. The blooming season for the flowers is spring with an ideal temperature about 55 degree F. If your area happens to be warm, you can use bed and borders to plant ranunculus. The flowers go well with larkspur, primroses and pansies.

These flowers can be grown in greenhouses under the stimulated conditions. The late winters and early spring is the perfect time to plant them in the pot or container.   If yours is a cooler climate, it becomes very easy maintenance and you can grow them in containers easily.

How to Plant Ranunculus:

The first step while planting ranunculus should be to loosen the soil and fill the container with the coarse soil. Please note that the soil should be well-drained. It is recommended that you use the growing mix provided by the florist.  

You need to plant the bulb with their claw or banana-shaped part down. The difference between each bulb should be 4” whereas the bulbs should be 2” deep.

After planting the bulbs, water them thoroughly though make sure that the soil is well-drained as the accumulated water can rot the roots.

Moreover, in warmer climates, the plant tends to develop an expansive root ball and hence it is advised that you choose pot or container keeping that in mind.

Ranunculus as Cut Flowers:

Ranunculus’ large and bright-colored flowers make for gorgeous fresh flower bouquets. If you want to prolong the vase life of cut flowers, it is recommended that you cut the flowers as soon as they start showing colors.

Aftercare of Ranunculus after the Blooming Season:

Ranunculus flowers become hardy in cool zones of 8 to 10.  If you want to grow them as perennial plants, it is very important that soil should be coarse, grained and well-drained. Winter temperature should remain cooler.

In cooler zones of 4-7, the plant grows to be an annual as the climate is not much favorable for it. The fresh bulbs in such climate should be planted in spring.