Raising Ranunculus – A Learning Experience

Several years ago I decided to jump on the ranunculus band wagon. I bought some bulbs or corms, as they are typically called. I read the very basic instructions: plant after threat of frost. Plant in shady area.

Bingo. Easy peasy. Ha! I think 1 or 2 came up, looked weakly around and died.

So I went online to see the problem was. One of my resources for southern plants is Walter Reeves. His site directs you to someone in Arizona who has raised them for several years and has blogged about it. He is not in the same zone that I am, from what I can tell, but is close enough that I realized I need to plant in the fall, not after the threat of frost is gone. They’re fairly hardy to some 25°+ at least for short while. But they quit blooming once highs stay up in the 80s. Some years for us that is April.

I bought more corms on Amazon and planted around the beginning of November. The corms can either be planted dry and the given 1 good soaking, or you can soak them for 12 hours until hydrated, plant them, and then hold off on watering until the plants start to come up.

Four weeks after planting

From there on out I did nothing but water them and throw some slow release fertilizer down.

January came with all it’s cold and even snow (!) so I put a sheet over them. They were pretty and green under that cover through that whole time.

Typically you can expect your first blooms about 90 days after planting. I didn’t see any buds at 90 days and was hoping I didn’t have dud plants. About 2 weeks later I saw the first buds forming.

It was closer to 120 days before I saw the first actual bloom opening up.

After the 1st cutting, they really took off. The pastel mix was slightly different then pictured, which may not be unusual. I wouldn’t call the yellow or pink ones pastel!

Ranunculus is also known as Persian buttercup. I think this one has a poppy look about it.

The seem to close up each night, another similarity to poppies.


They are beautiful, and cheerful and so much fun to share with others!

I pretty much keep a bouquet on my counter at work.

See how tightly they are fresh picked? Some opened up within minutes, once I put them in water.

We’re in zone 8b. I don’t know which zone is the cutoff for planting in fall vs early spring. I guess it depends on what time of the year you high 80s fairly consistently, and have lows of 25 or colder frequently. Then you would be a later winter/early spring planter, either starting inside, or plant with a protective cover.

I planted several corms in a planter and they don’t look good at all. I should transplant them into the garden and see if they recover. I don’t know what was wrong. Too little watering??

If anyone else out there has raised any, I’d love to hear any tips.

I had ordered some last winter from The Bouqs. They were red and went so well with my arrangements for the widow’s banquet.

I think next year I will buy some deep red ones too!

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