I have heard Ranunculus be compared to Peonies, Camellias, and Poppies and they are also referred to as the Rose of Spring. The plant produces large bright beautiful flowers in a number of colors (oranges, pinks, whites, red and yellow). There are more than 500 species of this flower including Buttercups, Spearworts, and Water Crowfoots. Ranunculus is of Latin origin meaning “little frog” and is believed to signify the many species of this plant found near water, just like a frog.
Ranunculuses thrive in the cool weather and are early-spring bloomers. They look great as part of a flower border or in containers. These flowers are annuals in most of the US, but in parts of the country with milder winters you can mulch them over and they are can then be considered to be a perennial. They are hardy in garden zones 8-10 and they are also deer resistant. With their bright colors and their ability to last for more than 10 days after being picked these flowers are also great to use in bouquets.
When you buy Ranunculus, you will receive corms that look like little octopuses, banana bunches or claws, which is very different from other bulbs you might have planted. The corms can be planted in the fall or early in the spring. If you plant them in the spring they tend to not be as abundant as if you planted them in the fall. If you live in a climate that has a warmer winter, you can leave them in the ground but if you live in a cooler temperature you will have to start them indoors. Many people start Ranunculus in containers and then move them outside once the last spring frost has passed.
The first thing to do when planting Ranunculus is to soak the corms in room temperature water for 3-4 hours. Soaking the corms plumps them up causing them to almost double in size. After the soaking, they can be planted. You should see flowers around 90 days after planting. If you plant your corms in the fall you will see blooms in early spring. If you plant them in late winter you will get blooms in mid-spring.
When planting them in the ground make sure they are placed in well-draining soil. Do not put them in a location where you get puddles from the rain. These flowers love full sun. The corms should be planted 2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart. Plant them with the ends of the corms pointing down.
Why not try planting these flowers this fall? If you grow them, share your experience and photos on our Facebook page.
Photos Courtesy of Jill Mazur