Guide to Growing Ranunculus

Hi Lovelies,

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Reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, oh my! These gorgeous mamas come in a wide range of colors. Some colors are easier to find than others, unfortunately.

Buckle yourself in, because this blog post is going to be an exciting one. Well, I think it is. If you live in one of those awesome areas where the temperatures are relatively mild and ranunculus grow and overwinter outside without protection, this post probably won’t serve as much help. However, if like me, you are a persian buttercup obsessed gardener in zone 6 (almost 7), then this post is dedicated to you!

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Do you see those big yellow blooms hiding in there!? Ugh! I love it.

If you aren’t acquainted with my dear friend Mr. Ranunculus, I suggest you pause and make a quick Google search in a new tab. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. I know, right. They’re totally swoonworthy, aren’t they?

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I bought an alleged “mix” last year. I quickly found out that “mix” really meant “almost all yellows”. I ain’t even mad though.

Let’s get down to business, ranunculus are hardy to zone 8, at least according to most of the packages that I’ve read. Researchย suggests that these bad boys can handle some pretty low temperatures. As a new gardener, the idea that any plant can survive the frost and freeze makes me nervous of impending failure – alas don’t fear!

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Some flowers are very double (like the big yellow) and others have less petals (the orange with the black center). I’m not certain if this has to do with the supplier or not, but either way is fine with me. There’s something magical about ranunculus that makes me feel like I might know what I’m doing when I make arrangements, lol.

 

If you aren’t familiar with my climate, it’s unpredictable. The winters are cold with temperatures dipping into single digits and sometimes into the negative. The springs are extremely short, and the summer heat comes on strong.

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I seriously can’t get enough of these things!!!!

The first year that I grew a small cutting patch, I knew that ranunculus had to be a part of the garden. Taking heed of everything I had read, I started my corms indoors and planted them out as soon as my soil could be worked. By June, my tiny plants were blooming. However, not only was it HOT, the plants also didn’t have sufficient growth time. This resulted in teeny tiny blooms that were only about an inch across. It was a success, but also a total bummer.

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I get so excited when these corms show up at my door! They remind me of little squids or something. You always want to make sure that you’re planting the corms “bananas down”.

It wasn’t until the next fall that I built my first hoophouse. Being that one of the places that I grow is my backyard, it had to be small and easy to construct, as well as cheap. Be on the lookout for a post about that very soon! Anyhow, I decided to try tucking away my tiny plants undercover, just as I had done with many of my favorite veggies, previously. This was the ultimate solution that I was looking for, and something I wish I had known when tackling ranunculus the season before! As it turns out, Love’n Fresh Flowersย even has a really great post about the process, which I definitely suggest as a nice read! Oh Google, how could you have failed me!? It’s okay, I forgive you.

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I always sing the praises of plants that are willing to grow for me – mainly, because I make huge messes like this.

So, as always, I was tardy to the party when it came to ordering my corms. In fact, they’re scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. As soon as I get my corms, I soak them for around 4 hours in water. I’ve seen sites suggest 24 hours, but honestly, I think that may be only for folks who like to live dangerously. I read in a forum long ago somewhere, that aerating the water whilst soaking will help “wake up” your corms. I really don’t know if this is true or not, but since I have my compost tea bubbler laying around, I always do it. Soaking for too long will result in a rotten mushy mess, so I always make sure not to forget about them! When re-hydrated, they’re ready for the dirt. ย I pop each of the little “octopus” corms into their own cubbie hole in my plant trays, water them lightly, and then put them outside. Mostly likely, I could plant directly into the ground, but I do like the amount of control that the trays give me. Corms seem to sprout best when the day time temperature is between 60-70F and the night time temperatures are around 40-50F. For me, that happens around the first week of October. As long as trays aren’t too wet, I usually don’t run into much of an issue with rot.

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I usually soak my corms about 4 hours. If you soak them too long, you’ll start losing your “bananas”.

Once the corms have sprouted, I don’t leave them in the tray for long. As you can imagine of something that tolerates freezing cold soil, the roots of this plant are extremely robust. The plants are put into weed barrier fabric in the hoophouse and continue growing until the really cold weather hits. It isn’t until the temperatures drop into the 20s or so, that I close the hoophouse and break out the frost blankets. Even on cold days, the hoophouse can warm substantially, and you may or may not occasionally find me just sitting in there in a chair soaking up some much needed sunshine.

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This is what things could possibly look like when you’ve had two weeks of snow and single digit high temperatures. I wish I was as resilient as some of the plants out in the garden, sometimes.

We had quite a bad winter last year, and the ranunculus did take a beating. At one point, yellow and dying leaves had almost convinced me that I had failed – you wouldn’t have believed my relief when I finally saw the buds beginning to form! When the weather begins to warm a little, growth starts kicking in again. My first bud appeared in early March, and by April there were flowers everywhere. You’ve definitely got to stay on top of the weeds though, because seeing these flowers disappear under a sea of grass is so heartbreaking! When the weather gets into the 90s, they finally stop producing and gradually fade away into brown nothingness. I usually plant something new before this happens though, because quite frankly, I need the space and I’m so sad to see them go! Some folks who live in an ideal world can probably save the corms for next year, but around here they’d surely rot, so I’ve never given it a try.

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These corms are plump, beautiful, and ready to be planted! YES.

The growing process really is something that you learn from experience, and will vary from one location to another. While I wouldn’t suggest going crazy and diving right in the first time you give this a try – I think it’s definitely worth the extra attention that growing this beauty requires. I can’t help but rejoice when plants are able to withstand and endure my sloppy and haphazard gardening record! That’s when I know I’ve truly got a winner! Like many flowers, ranunculus are toxic, so proceed at your own will.

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When your $30 hoophouse can handle 3 feet of snow like a boss – you go girl! This is 6 mil poly. 12’x12′ and 7 ft tall.

Have you grown ranunculus before? What are your thoughts? What should I grow next? Don’t forget to comment and subscribe! Hope you have a great day, much love!

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Guide to Growing Ranunculus

    • freshcutky says:

      Thanks so much! I don’t order enough to buy from wholesale, so I just go to different places online. Last year’s (the flowers pictured above) came from TulipWorld. I wanted to something different this year, so I ordered from Longfield Gardens. I’m so excited for the Picotee flowers!

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  1. maryoconnor12 says:

    Beautiful photos! Thanks, too, for liking my blog post of today and, in so doing, introducing me to yours, which as a fellow zone 6(a) (borderline 7) neighbor, I especially enjoyed seeing. I suspect I shall learn much from yours!

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  2. Lindsay says:

    I just got mine today. Ive been nervous to grow these until I saw flower farmers having success here in Nashville, TN zone 7. Thanks for writing about your trials. Our temps are about right for sprouting as you described. But are getting down to the 30s sometimes. Do you think this is too cool? Would you cover tham with anything over night? Im thinking about trying to plant some in a hoop house as you have and plant some directly in the ground and mulch 3in with pine straw, then move pine straw away late winter after the nights are 29 or higher. Do you think this would work, or do they need to Sprout before winter and have foliage up over winter? Thanks! Your photos are beautiful!

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    • freshcutky says:

      Hi Lindsay! I definitely think you’d be successful growing ranunculus! I’m about 3 hours north of Nashville, so I totally understand feeling nervous about helping plants make through the winter weather. Lol. Since our weather has been so mild this year, I don’t necessarily think it’s too late to get the corms started, though they may bloom just a little bit later. If bringing the corms in at night is an option, I’d probably do that just in case. At the very least, while they’re sprouting I’d cover them with plastic to protect them at night. Ranunculus will definitely appreciate being in the hoophouse. I’ve never tried planting them outside of the hoop, so I’m not sure how things would go with mulching them. I think my major concern would be that they might rot before spring finally made it. Even if they did make it through the winter, the flowers can be somewhat delicate. So even if they do survive, the weather might really give your blooms a beating. I grew anemones without any protection last year (which seem to be a little more cold hardy, I think). Even though they sprouted in fall and survived without an issue, the flowers just weren’t as good as the ones that I had grown in the hoophouse – the stem length was particularly a problem. If you decide to try to overwinter some in the ground, I’d love to know how it works out! I’m still very new at this and trying to figure a lot of things out. I hope you’ll follow along with us on YouTube as well! I’ve been a little better at updating that moreso than the blog lately! I hope that I was able to help somehow! Good luck and happy growing! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIt0K0L4hdCKr_gD3B0kJvw

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  3. Pat Merrell says:

    Fantastic post for me here in zone 8 ..Myrtle beach D.C. Planted my first few ranuculus fall 15 in a littl bag from Lowes with no expectations. In the ground in a new flowerbed I was just trying some things in. Ranuculus were a huge wonderful sir pride. This fall I have planted probably 6o from 3 different sources. Some came up quickly so I will be covering them when we have our coldest weather this winter. Have several huge flower pots potted up that I can protect and just move into border beds while they are blooming. So excited about these as I do a lot of cut flower gardening and expect these to be the star of my show next spring. Thanks so much for this encouraging post!

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    • freshcutky says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Ranunculus are definitely one of my favorite flowers! I was really nervous the first time I grew them, but pleasantly surprised when they bloomed. Hope you’re having a great day! Feel free to check out our youtube channel too, for more flower updates! You can find us by searching for “The Mud Room” ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • freshcutky says:

      Unfortunately they don’t seem to like hot weather. Mine usually bloom in the spring and then eventually stop when the hot summer weather gets here. If its 80, you may get a few flowers; but there may not be as many or they might be smaller. I hope I was able to help! Hope youre having a great day!

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