How to Plant Ranunculus Bulbs – Planting, Growing, and Storing
The lovely ranunculus is one of the most popular flowers for bridal bouquets and florists, but did you know that you can grow these beautiful flowers in your own home garden? You can plant ranunculus bulbs in garden beds, containers, borders, or even in a flowing romantic cottage garden setting. So long as a few environmental conditions are met growing these flowers is quite easy.
GROWING RANUNCULUS FROM BULBS
Ranunculus flowers are stunning. A plain vase filled with mono-color blooms is as simple as it gets and about as beautiful as it gets. If you’re into cut flowers, growing ranunculus might be one of your new favorite past times.
Ranunculus, commonly called buttercups or Persian buttercups, are wonderfully upright flowers with perfect paper-like flowers with tall stems and dark green foliage.
Blossoms: Blossoms are tight with double ruffled blooms that resemble roses or carnations.
Colors: Colors range from cream, pale yellow, apricot, pink, orange, red, and burgundy.
Height & Spread: From 8 to 18 inches tall and 6 to 12 inches wide.
Growing Season: Early spring to summer.
HOW TO PLANT RANUNCULUS BULBS IN THE GARDEN
Hardiness: Hardy in USDA zones seven and above. In colder areas, ranunculus flowers are usually planted as annuals. In warmer areas, corms can be planted out in the fall for late spring blooms. Not sure which zone you live in? You can check on this handy map.
Planting Out: In zones 8-10, you can plant your corms in late autumn for early spring blooms. You can start your corms indoors or in a greenhouse in late winter or 10 weeks prior to your last spring frost. Before planting out or starting early in a hoop house, low tunnel, or greenhouse, soak the corms in room temperature water for a few hours until they are plump.
Bloom Time: Ranunculus will bloom about 90 days after planting for 6-7 weeks. If you start them in late winter you will have blooms by early summer.
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Planting Lots of Bulbs?
If you need to plant lots of bulbs it’s a good idea to invest in a bulb planter.
The best investment I made in my bulb garden was the bulb digger attachment for my drill. It saves so much time and digs the perfect-sized hole every time.
CARE FOR RANUNCULUS FLOWERS
Ranunculus asiaticus (common name buttercup, Persian buttercup) is an easy-going flower to add to your garden. It has basic requirements and will flourish if provided with the right environment.
Sun Requirements: Ranunculus require full sun. They will tolerate partial shade in the morning, but they flower more profusely in full sun.
Soil Requirements: Plant in soil with plenty of organic matter with good drainage and pH of 6.0-6.5.
Water Requirements: Ranunculus like plenty of water. Ideally, the plants should get at least 1 inch of rain or manual watering a week. Avoid spraying water on the leaves and flowers to prevent them from tipping over. You will want to keep an even soil moisture level to produce large flowers.
Fertilizer Requirements: Apply a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks while growing.
Staking requirements: The flowers can topple over in strong winds so staking is advised. You can also use flower grids to keep the stems straight and upright for cut flowers.
PESTS & DISEASES OF ranunculus
Ranunculus is generally a carefree plant, but it can get infested with a few pests and is susceptible to mildew.
Pests: Ranunculus plants can be attacked by slugs, snails, and aphids
Aphid infestations will present with curled or stunted leaves. Leaves may turn brown, and flowers may look distorted. Treat with insecticidal soap or a simple blast of forceful water from the hose. Be sure to clean the underside of the leaves.
Try baiting slugs and snails with beer or use a commercial slug and snail bait like Sluggo.
Diseases: The corms of the ranunculus plant are susceptible to mildew. Mildew’s primary cause is poor drainage and overwatering. With good environmental practices in your garden, you can prevent mildew from taking hold.
Do not overwater – overwatering will cause the corms to rot and invite insects which will cause diseases to spread.
Can you store ranuculus CORMS?
If you’re a gardener in USDA zone 7 or above with mild winters, you can leave the corms in the ground, and they might re-bloom the following spring.
You can pull the corms in colder climates in late summer or fall for storage but the results are usually poor.
If planting ranunculus as annuals, it is better to start with fresh corms every year for best results.
Propagation isn’t recommended because results are usually poor. However, that’s not to say that you can’t try propagating your ranunculus.
If you want to propagate your ranunculus corms, the best time to dig them out is when the leaves are dry and dead. Start by cutting off the leaves and letting the corms dry in a warm dry place or out in the sun for several days. Then, store the bulbs in dry moss (like peat moss) in a mesh bag in a dark place and cross your fingers. You may get blooms the next year.
Ranunculus make lovely cut flowers
Ranunculus blooms have an incredible long vase life. They can look marvellous up to 12 days after you cut the blooms!
Cut the flowers before they unfurl entirely. If the flowers are cut when they are open, the vase life can be shorter at 7-10 days.
If you want your ranunculus to bloom through the growing season, be sure to deadhead the plants by removing spent flower heads.
A good-sized corm can grow up to 12 stems, while smaller bulbs will grow 5-7, so plan accordingly. They are however a flower with very high productivity!
Tip #1. Cut flowers that have not yet opened, and they will last up to 14 days.
Tip: #2 To make your cut ranunculus flowers last as long as possible, split the stem and condition them overnight in cold water that reaches almost to the flower heads.
Tip #3 If your ranunculus flowers are floppy, wrap a piece of paper around the stem while being conditioned in cold water. The paper will offer support while the flower becomes rigid from the water.
- See: Flowers for The Cutting Garden
- See: How to Plant Gladiolus Bulbs For Beautiful Summer Blooms
- See: How to Keep Cut Roses Fresh in Water As Long As Possible
Start that Summer bulb garden ASAP!
If you’re planning a summer garden this year and thinking about planting some ranunculus tubers, I highly recommend growing early indoors and getting a head start for the best results.
Learning how to plant ranunculus bulbs isn’t at all hard but there are a few tricks and tips that make the growing process go so much better!
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Ranunculus can grow back yearly if grown in the right climate zone. In zones seven or colder, you will need to dig up the corms and re-plant the following season.
Ranunculus are delicate and a bit picky about soil pH, but so long as you take care of them properly, they will thrive. Keep the soil pH between 6 and 6.5; stake your stems so they don’t topple in the wind, and you’ll have stunning blooms.
Yes, ranunculus will grow in pots! So long as you provide the plants with the right soil, stake them for support, and ensure the soil doesn’t dry out, they will do well in pots.
If you want your ranunculus to bloom through the growing season, be sure to deadhead the plants by removing spent flower heads. At the end of the season, you can dig up the bulbs and try to grow them again the next season, but ranunculus bulbs are notoriously difficult to store successfully.
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