You might never have seen ranunculus flowers before but once you do, you’ll instantly fall in love with them. Similar to roses, in that, there are deep layers of petals, ranunculus comes in many colors and shapes and will make your garden truly shine.
When to plant ranunculus: The start of spring is all about celebration and if you are itching for lovely blooms, then ranunculus is the perfect flower. Those that live in more temperate climates can plant these flowers in the fall before the ground starts to freeze. Then, you will be rewarded with early spring blooms. If you have very cold winters, it is much better to wait until early spring to get these flowers in the ground. Then, come mid-spring you will be delighted with flowers. Ranunculus is a cold-season flower and is also a perennial. You can leave the flower corms in the ground if your winters are not too cold. Or, if you experience freezing temperatures, dig them up from the ground and re-plant them each spring.
Planting Ranunculus in Different Climates
Ranunculus is a cold-season plant and does not do well with hot temperatures. The warm temperatures of a tropical climate, especially during the winter and spring, will not allow ranunculus to thrive.
Without enough moisture, ranunculus will not grow and bloom.
The cool weather of a temperate climate is ideal for a ranunculus. With this climate, you should be able to plant the corms in the ground in the fall as the winters won’t be too harsh.
You can definitely grow ranunculus in a continental climate but you won’t be able to plant them in the fall as the winters will be too cold. Instead, wait until the harsh temperatures of winter are over and plant in the early spring.
Unfortunately, even though ranunculus is a cold-weather plant, there is not enough sunlight in the spring in a polar climate.
Choosing Ranunculus Seeds
Also known as Persian buttercups, there are plenty of varieties of ranunculus.
With vivid colors of yellow, cream, and apricot, this variety will bring sunshine to your garden, even when it is still cold outside.
With white blooms and edges of crimson violet, this is a stunning variety. The blooms are small and contained and so interesting to look at.
There’s something quite delicate about this variety. With vibrant yellow hues, this variety blooms later in the spring, and sometimes even into early summer.
Color is great but there is something truly awe-inspiring when you come across an all-white variety. With tightly-intertwined flowers, this is a great variety on its own, or if you want to pair it with other vibrant colors.
How to Plant Ranunculus Seeds
Unless you are a seasoned gardener, you might not be familiar with more advanced gardening terminology. This is ok, but if you are interested here’s a quick lesson on terminology.
Ranunculus starts with corms. These may look like traditional bulbs but they are actually a bit different.
Ranunculus corns look like small stems and inside of them are layers of food storage tissue. You can separate larger corns and they will grow into individual plants.
You may see the terms ranunculus bulbs or tubers. While this is technically incorrect, many people will use these words because they are more commonly understood than the term corms.
For best results, you want to plant your ranunculus corms in the fall. This can even be up to mid-winter, as long as the ground is still workable.
Ranunculus flowers bloom in the early spring so having them in the ground in the fall means you don’t have to worry about them. Instead, you can simply enjoy the sight of them bursting from the ground.
There are some who are able to plant their ranunculus corms in the early spring or late winter. This is a bit of a gamble as you may be too late and not give the corms enough time to settle in so they can grow.
The one exception to planting is that ranunculus corms may not survive harsh winters. If you live in an area and your winters regularly dip below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, the corms may freeze, and then when they thaw, they will start to rot.
If you take the risk with cold winters, cover the area you planted your ranunculus. You may be able to protect them with a bit of insulation.
Prepare the corms
Unlike traditional bulbs, which simply have one sphere-like part to them, ranunculus corms have many tendrils similar to an octopus. These tendrils will spread out after planting and grow multiple flowers.
Once you are ready to plant, open the package of corms and place them in a bowl of room temperature water. Leave them to soak for three to four hours but don’t leave them for much longer as they may start to rot.
During this time, the corms will expand as they absorb the moisture. After this process, you now have two options: plant them right away or pre-sprout them.
If you can’t wait for a burst of color in your spring garden, you can give your ranunculus flowers a head start by pre-sprouting them. To do so, you will need to start with a seed tray that has a flat bottom on it.
Fill the tray halfway with potting soil. Make sure it is moist and not too dry.
Then, take your soaked ranunculus corns and spread them out over the soil. Finally, cover them with more soil and leave them for 10 to 14 days.
The tray should be in a cool place. As you wait, add a bit more soil to ensure it stays moist but not overly wet.
After this time period, you should see small rootlets which resemble white hairs. Once they appear, it is time to transplant them into your garden.
Whether you have pre-sprouted your ranunculus corms or are placing them directly in your garden, it’s time to pick the right spot. Even though these are cold-loving flowers, they still need full sun to grow.
Add plenty of organic matter to the area you are digging in, such as manure or compost. Mix it all together so there are tons of nutrients in the soil.
Dig a hole that is about 2 to 3 inches deep. Place your corns in this hole so that the tendrils are pointing down into the soil.
How to Water Ranunculus
Ranunculus flowers are cold-season plants so you shouldn’t have to water too much. If you plant in the fall, give them a decent watering at first but the cool temperatures of the fall and winter, along with the precipitation, should be enough.
In the spring, when the flowers start to bloom, you again shouldn’t need too much water as spring is a fairly wet season. However, if you have your ranunculus in a container or it’s a dry spring, then you should check the moisture level of the soil and adjust accordingly.
How to Grow Ranunculus
If you plant your ranunculus corms in the fall, you can expect blooms to appear in the early spring. As for those that need to wait for warmer temperatures and plant in the early spring, blooms should appear in mid-spring.
Even though it’s great to have gorgeous blooms in your garden, you may want to bring that beauty to your home. Ranunculus flowers are great for cut bouquets.
Wait until the blooms have color to them but are not fully open. They should be squishy but still tight together.
Cut the length you want and then place them in a glass with water. You can then expect the blooms to last between 10 and 12 days, as long as you change the water regularly.
How long does ranunculus take to grow?
Those that live in a warmer climate are able to plant their ranunculus corms in the ground in the fall. Then, they will overwinter and bloom in the early spring.
However, if you have very cold winters, it is not wise to plant in the fall as the corms will freeze and then rot as they thaw. If this is the case, you will then need to plant in the early spring.
Ranunculus corms that are planted in the early spring will then bloom in mid-spring.
These flowers are actually perennials. You can leave the corms in the ground throughout the year, as long as your winters are not too cold, and have new flowers each spring.
For those with colder winters, you will need to dig up the corms each fall, store them properly over winter, and then plant them each spring for new blooms.
Winter is a harsh season and the lack of flowers can be pretty depressing. Ranunculus is an early, cold-season flower that will bloom in early spring. You can plant the corms in the fall if you have milder winter temperatures and if not, plant them in early spring for mid-spring flowers.