Everything You Need to Know About Ranunculus Flowers

Ranunculus flowers are a group of flowers which includes approximately 500 species. There are many of these flowers that grow wild or that you can add to your garden yourself. In addition to being a pretty flower to grow in your garden, many of the species of this flower have medicinal properties. If you are thinking of introducing these plants to your garden, here is everything you need to know about ranunculus flowers.

An Overview of Ranunculus Flowers

The most common type of ranunculus flowers is the buttercup, of which there are many different species. Other types of ranunculus flowers are water crowfoots and spearworts. Most ranunculus flowers are perennial, but there are some species that are herbaceous, biennial, terrestrial, or aquatic plants. The leaves have stems and veined with very fine leaflets. Most have five petals that are yellow, green, white of blushed with purple, red, or pink. Each petal has a nectary gland at its base, and the fruits of the flowers can vary from smooth to hairy and from winged to being covered in hooked spines.

Common Species of Ranunculus Flowers

Although it is estimated that there are over 500 species, some of the most common varieties recommended by The Spruce are:

  • Buttercups – Most of the species in the ranunculus flower group are buttercups. These have crepe petals and are available in a variety of colors. There are even designer blooms with patterns and shading.
  • Ranunculus ficaria – A common wildflower in North America, these are often found in grassy meadows, woodland areas, or along the banks of streams. The sub-species Brazen Hussy is often cultivated in landscapes. However, this species has some invasive properties.
  • Ranunculus asiaticus – This flower is usually sold in multi-colored mixes that add pops of color to your garden. These tubers feature gnarled claws.
  • Ranunculus tango – These are similar in appearance to red roses, but they are much easier to grow without using pesticides.
  • Ranunculus Hanoi – The blooms of these flowers are a shade of pale pink. Their shape is similar to that of a rosebud, with multiple layers of petals. They are sometimes described as a cross between marshmallow and cotton candy.
  • Ranunculus ‘Purple Picotee’ – These are a delightful flower with lilac-white petals with dark purple, crimped edges. They need plenty of moisture and good drainage to thrive.
  • Ranunculus acontifolius – Unlike most ranunculus flowers, these need moist conditions and dappled shade. Therefore, they are one of the best varieties to choose if you do not have a lot of sunlight or drainage in your garden. They thrive in spring and then become dormant in summer.
  • Ranunculus Venere – These have an unusually colored flower that is somewhere between pink and coral.
  • Ranunculus Lyallii – Native to New Zealand, this is one of the tallest species you can grow as they can grow to a height of three feet. These flowers have a yellow center and white petals. They prefer rocky soils, full sunlight, and cool summers.
  • Ranunculus ‘Amandine Rose’ – The ‘Amandine Rose’ is a sub-species of the ranunculus asiaticus. It is one of Holland’s most successful flower exports because of its ruffled layers of petals, which are a rich pink. These flowers thrive in cool spring weather.
  • Ranunculus cortusifolius – This is a type of yellow buttercup that is native to the Canary Islands. Each flower has five, golden petals. They bloom in spring and remain in flower for three months. They will become dormant during the drier summer months.
  • Ranunculus alpestris – If you have an alpine garden, then this is the ideal species for you to choose. They have small white flowers and grow to a maximum height of two inches. They will flower abundantly throughout spring.
  • Ranunculus ‘Cloni Dark Orange’ – The shape of these flowers resembles that of the English rose and the petals are a vivid orange. The bulbs of this species are propagated under strict laboratory condition in Italy.
  • Ranunculus nivalis – Also known as the snow buttercup, this tiny flower grows in Arctic regions and Alaska. When the summer months hit and the snow begins to melt, it seems like these flowers spring up overnight. Their ability to withstand snow means they are ideal for those living in colder climates. The small flowers of these plants have overlapping gold petals and a bright green center.
  • Ranunculus ‘Rhone Pink’ – This is a Japanese designer species of ranunculus. They have layered pink blooms, similar to a rose.
  • Ranunculus acris – This is a great choice for beginner gardeners as it is one of the hardiest varieties. It is a perennial hardy that grows as a wildflower in boggy areas, but it will grow in most soil types. It blooms between May and July.

Some Uses of Ranunculus Flowers

Although ranunculus flowers are toxic if eaten raw, they are used for many pharmacological activities. Some of the medicines in which they are traditionally used are medicines for intermittent fever, anti-rheumatism, and rubefacient. These flowers are mostly used in Asian traditional medicines. Other than their medicinal uses, ranunculus flowers are used only for growing in gardens and for selling as cut flowers.

Why Choose Ranunculus Flowers?

To decide whether ranunculus flowers are the right sort of plant for you to add to your garden, it is important to consider the benefits of opting for the flowers. Some reasons to choose ranunculus flowers include:

  • Aesthetics- The main reason why people choose ranunculus flowers is for the aesthetic benefits they bring to any garden as they are pretty and colorful flowers.
  • Ease of care- They are easy to care for, so they are suitable for both experienced gardeners and novices.
  • Variety- Compared to many other types of plants, there is a lot of variety in ranunculus flowers. There are over 500 species to choose between that come in a vast array of colors.
  • Availability- Some types of plants are hard to find, but ranunculus flowers are widely available and are sold at most garden centers.
  • Price- the bulbs for these flowers are cheap to buy, so you can add some beauty to your garden even if you have a limited budget. If you use the tubular roots to grow them again the next year, you will save money on buying new plants for your garden.

When and Where to Grow Ranunculus Flowers

The Spruce offers some tips for when and where to plant your ranunculus flowers. These include:

  • You can plant these flowers outdoors in fall if you live in a warmer climate.
  • If you live in a climate where temperatures drop below freezing for extended periods during winter, then wait until late winter or early spring before planting outdoors.
  • Alternatively, start the tubers indoors for around eight to 12 weeks before you expect the last frost.
  • If the bulbs are planted in fall, they will bloom in early spring. Bulbs planted in late winter will flower by mid-spring.
  • Plant bulbs in areas with full sun exposure.
  • Ranunculus flowers can grow in most soil types but will thrive in a loamy soil.
  • Choose a spot with good drainage. Avoid areas where water puddles for more than five hours after rain.

How to Grow Ranunculus Flowers

To grow ranunculus flowers in landscape beds, Easy to Grow Bulbs recommends the following steps:

  1. Choose the best spot for your ranunculus flowers.
  2. If drainage is a problem, add two to three inches of organic matter to improve the drainage. Some examples of organic matter are moss, ground bark, compost, or decomposed manure.
  3. Dig a small hole approximately two to three inches deep and insert the bulb.
  4. Cover the bulb with soil and gently pat into place.
  5. Plant the bulbs between four and six inches apart.
  6. Water the bulbs immediately after planting as this will encourage the roots to grow.
  7. Do not water the plants again until you see leaves sprouting. This usually happens in early spring but will depend on when and where you have planted the bulbs.

Tips for Growing Ranunculus Flowers in Containers

Some gardeners prefer to grow their ranunculus flowers in a container. This is especially a good idea if you live in a colder climate. The following tips will help you to grow healthy ranunculus flowers in containers in your garden.

  • Choose containers that have a drainage hole at the bottom.
  • Use a good-quality potting mix that drains well and then fill the container with this.
  • Poke holes about two inches deep and approximately three to four inches apart.
  • Push the bulbs into the holes and cover with soil.
  • Immediately after planting, water the bulbs.
  • Put the containers where they can receive full sunlight throughout the day.

Growing Ranunculus Plants in Cold Climates

Although ranunculus plants prefer warmer climates and access to full sunlight throughout the day, it is possible to grow them in colder climates, too. It is best to plant them indoors first until the worst of the cold weather has passed. If you plant the bulbs directly outside, soak the bulbs in tepid water for approximately four hours as this will give them a head start. These plants are not cold hardy, so you will have to start again with new bulbs each year rather than expecting them to bloom annually.

Tips for Caring for Your Ranunculus Flowers

Ranunculus flowers are easy to grow and care for, says Gardening Know How. Use the following tips to care for your ranunculus flowers properly:

  • Pull out the tubers at the end of each season by waiting until the foliage has almost completely died and then digging them out.
  • Use the tubers to regrow the plants the following year. Simply dry them out in a cool dry place to remove the moisture.
  • Watering is only needed id the weather is hot and dry for a prolonged period. Too much water will cause the roots to rot.
  • Cutting off the flowers at the end of the season will ensure that the plants continue to bloom the following year.

Flowering, Harvesting, and Using the Roots of Ranunculus Flowers

Gardening Direct says that ranunculus flowers are prized by florists because of their beautiful shapes, their display longevity, and their intense flowers. If you have this type of flowers in your garden, you can cut the flowers for display in your home. You should cut them when they are fully formed but haven’t opened. You can also collect the seeds from ranunculus flowers. When flowering is over and the petals have fallen off the flowers, the seed head matures and then dries out. By shaking or rubbing the pod, you harvest the seeds. It is also possible to grow more ranunculus plants from the roots. After flowering, lift and divide the tuberous roots. You can then keep pieces of the root in pots filled with soil-based compost and plant them out in spring.

Plant Problems

Like most plants, ranunculus plants can have problems caused by pests and diseases. Gardenerdy says that the three most common problems for ranunculus plants are aphids, mollusks, and fungal attacks. However, these are common problems that can affect almost any plant in your garden, so they are not species-specific issues.

Ranunculus Plants – The Final Verdict

The bulbs of ranunculus plants are widely available and they are very easy to grow. They will fill your garden with beautiful colors, and they need very little care. Therefore, they are an excellent addition to any garden for gardeners of all skill levels. They are particularly good if your aim is to add a variety of colors to your garden. You do not need a large garden to grow these plants as you can grow them indoors or in containers. This means that even people with only a yard, a balcony, a patio, or no garden at all can grow these flowers at home.


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