Ranunculus: growing from seeds and tubers

Table of Contents

Ranunculus flower (buttercup)-1 Ranunculus is a flower of tenderness, a flower of inspiration. Not for nothing is it so loved by brides, bloggers and photographers! Today we know more than 600 species of ranunculus, just imagine this fabulous kingdom!

Choosing your own variety of ranunculus is like judging a pageant of perfect beauty, a daunting task, you’ll agree. There is still, of course, the choice of seed and care … But with this, we will help you easily deal.

  • How to prolong the flowering of a beautiful ranunculus in a pot?
  • Can I plant different ranunculi in the same pot?
  • Is it necessary to dig up the tubers of this delicate plant every time for home overwintering?
  • What fertilizers can harm the flowering of ranunculus?

Read in our article.

Planting and care of ranunculus

  • Planting: planting tubers in late April or early May, sowing seeds for seedlings – in early March.
  • Digging out: first half of the autumn.
  • Storage: in a paper bag at a temperature of 4-5 ˚ C and good air circulation.
  • Flowering: June to August.
  • Lighting: bright light, semi-shade.
  • Soil: neutral, fertile, drained and light. Loam is not suitable.
  • Watering: moderate, regular.
  • Fertilizing: only during flowering once in 2 weeks with potassium fertilizers.
  • Propagation: by tubers, by seeds.
  • Pests: cabbage moths, spider mites, nematodes.
  • Diseases: root rot, powdery mildew, gray rot.
Read more about growing ranunculus below

Ranunculus (lat. Ranunculus), or Asiatic buttercup (garden) is a plant in the buttercup family native to Asia Minor. Ancient scholar Pliny named them so (in Latin ranunculus means “frog”) for the fact that many species of buttercups, like all amphibians, like wetlands. In England from Turkey ranunculus was introduced in the 16th century and at once became a favorite of florists, but by the end of the 19th century its popularity faded a little, and revived only in this century. Today more than 600 species of ranunculus are known.

Ranunculus flower is good in that it can stand in a vase with water for up to two weeks. In Italy, the garden buttercup is called the “golden buttons of the meadows”. There is a beautiful legend that buttercups are little stars turned into flowers by Jesus and presented to his mother as a sign of respect and love…

Botanical Description

Ranunculus asiaticus.

This is a very beautiful flower. It is grown both in the garden and at home in pots, decorating terraces, balconies and living rooms with it. The plant reaches a height of 20-80 cm, it has deeply parted leaves and strong stems. The rhizomes are tubers that look like goose feet. Both the stocky rhizome and the leaves and stems of ranunculus resemble the leaves, stems and rhizomes of dahlia. Beautiful tumbled, semi-tumbled and dense florets of ranunculus reaching 5-10 cm in diameter and blooming successively from May to August. When they begin to open, they look like roses and when they do open, they look like a poppy. White ranunculus and pink ranunculus are very attractive to brides, who are happy to include them in their wedding bouquet.

Keep in mind, however, that ranunculus sap is poisonous.

Species and varieties of Ranunculus asiaticus, which originally had two varieties, are cultivated: Ranunculus persianus, whose inflorescences resemble a rose, and Ranunculus africanus, whose inflorescences resemble a peony.

Growing peculiarities

  • not to burn the roots, feeding the ranunculus, choose only those fertilizers that include biohumus;
  • the plant does not like transplants, so it is advisable not to disturb the ranunculus without an absolute need;
  • During flowering, the ranunculus needs potassium and limestone;
  • During the flowering period put the pot in the shade and reduce watering, so the ranunculus will bloom longer;
  • the ranunculus is not frost-resistant, so its tubers should be dug out of the ground before frost, just after the leaves have died off;
  • you can plant ranunculus of different colors in one pot, making a beautiful and ornate bouquet;
  • it is desirable to remove the blossomed inflorescences, so that new ones will bloom as soon as possible, and at the end of summer the stem should be cut to the base.
Ranunculus in the garden-3 In the photo: Ranunculus blossoms together with irises

Planting ranunculus in the garden

Preparing the soil for planting

Garden ranunculus(buttercup) grows and in bright sun, but prefers the penumbra, in which the coloring of its inflorescences will be brighter and the flowering will be longer. Consider how to protect it from draughts. And don’t rush planting, make sure there will be no more frosts. Soil Ranunculus prefers neutral, light and fertile, such as chernozem with sand and humus or peat neutralized with chalk.

Categorically not suitable for ranunculus loam. The main thing is that the soil does not retain moisture for a long time, but absorbs water well when watering. Be sure to provide good drainage, otherwise your flowers can rot. You can do this by, for example, pouring some sand on the bottom of the planting hole. Before planting the ranunculus, dig the soil, add compost and treat it with a solution of Fondazole.

A field of ranunculus (buttercups)-4 Pictured: A whole field of ranunculus

When to sow seeds

Growing ranunculus from seeds is not easy, so do not have too high hopes for this method: the seeds of ranunculus have a very low germination rate. But if you want to know how to grow ranunculus from seeds, we are ready to share our experience and knowledge. Ranunculus seeds are best taken from the first flowering buds, wrapping them with gauze after they’ve bloomed so that the seeds don’t spill out on the ground.

In mid-February, drop them into light, fertile soil and sprinkle a layer of 1.5-2 cm of soil on top. Cover the container with glass or cling film and keep them in a well-lit place at 15-17ºC. Moisten the soil from time to time. After two to three weeks, when sprouts appear, remove the cover, and when the seedlings have two pairs of leaves, they are nested in separate pots and, as soon as warm weather sets in, planted in the ground. They will bloom only next year, so the cultivation of ranunculus from seeds is not suitable for florists who rely on quick results.

Ranunculus seeds-5 In the photo: Ranunculus seeds of different varieties

When to plant the tubers

When the ground warms up and the risk of spring frosts disappears (around the end of April or beginning of May), it’s time to plant ranunculus bulbs. Planting a ranunculus flower is not a difficult or labor-intensive process, but there are important points that should not be missed. To prepare the tubers of ranunculus for planting, they are placed for several hours in a moist environment (sponge, wet sawdust or moss). You can simply soak them in cold water or a weak solution of manganese. Sometimes a growth stimulant is added to the water. Since the plant does not tolerate transplanting well, think carefully at once how to plant the ranunculus correctly, that is, in what place it will be really comfortable.

How to plant a ranunculus? The tubers of ranunculus are placed in a hole to a depth of 5-8 cm “beak” down. The distance between the tubers is 10-15 cm. If there is a possibility of a sharp drop in temperature, cover the bed with a covering material or straw. In two or three months, a few flower stalks will appear from each tuber, and after a while the first flowers of ranunculus will open.

Preparing Ranunculus tubers for planting-6 Planting Ranunculus (buttercup) tubers-7

Caring for ranunculus in the garden

Caring for ranunculus is not difficult at all. Ranunculus needs regular, but moderatewatering, so that the roots do not rot from excessive moisture. The first signs of rotting are mold on the leaves and bud drop. Remove the damaged parts of the plants, loosen the soil around them, and reduce watering. Remove the blooming inflorescences in time so they don’t interfere with new blooms.

Ranunculus need to loosen the soil and fertilise with organic fertiliser: feed it every two weeks with potassium fertiliser (40-50 grammes perm2 of soil) during the flowering period (potassium salt, potassium sulphate or wood ash). Sometimes, especially in dry summers, spider mites can settle in ranunculus. The stems and leaves of the plant attract aphids and thrips, and if you notice silvery or white spots on the leaves, you should immediately treat the ranunculus with insecticides.

It is recommended for prevention to spray the ranunculus 2-3 times a week with a 0.2 % solution of mercaptophos.

Ranunculus care-8 In the photo: Ranunculus blooming in the field

Ranunculus at home

Planting on a windowsill

If you decide to plant a ranunculus on the balcony, caring for it will be no more difficult than in the garden, and, nevertheless, to successfully grow a ranunculus at home, listen to the advice of experienced florists. Home ranunculus is recommended to plant not as a single plant, but in a group. Make or buy a decorative box or large, wide pot with drainage holes and plant a ranunculus in it.

Plant in the same soil as in the garden: peat-based substrate. The day before, soak the tubers in water for 24 hours. At the bottom of the box or pot pour a layer of drainage (gravel, expanded clay, eggshells), then a layer of substrate, place the tubers of ranunculus and top up the substrate so much that only the tip of the bulb was visible. If the width of the pot allows, plant several tubers in it. Water the ranunculus in the pot well and keep it at a temperature not higher than 12ºC for the first time, dampening the soil from time to time.

Planting ranunculus at home-10 In the photo: Ornamental ranunculus or Asiatic buttercup

Home care

When the sprouts reach a few centimeters, the temperature can be increased slightly (to 20-22 ºC), during the flowering period it should not be less than 18ºC, but no more, because then the ranunculus at home will bloom too quickly. The main thing in caring for ranunculus indoors is to let the light fall on it. It feels great on east and west windows, but if possible, put it on the south, and it will reward you with magnificent blooms. After the onset of warm days the pot or box can be taken out on a balcony or terrace.

Water the plant regularly, adding fertilizer to the water during the growth period. Watering is preferable top, but try not to overwater the soil. Sometimes sprinkle the plant with water. After wilting of the ranunculus, watering should be reduced.

Planting a ranunculus in a pot-11 In the photo: Growing Asiatica ranunculus in a pot

Ranunculus after flowering

Digging out and storing

Autumn has arrived. It’s time to dig up the ranunculus. Growing this plant should not seem time-consuming to you. The last step will be just as uncomplicated. As soon as the leaves of the ranunculus turn yellow and wither, the stem and leaves are cut off and the plant tubers are extracted from the ground. This should be done very carefully, because the rhizomes of ranunculus are very fragile and break from any careless movement. The ranunculus is actually a perennial, but it can’t tolerate temperatures below -7 ºC. You are therefore better off letting it overwinter in a well-ventilated cellar at 4-6 ºC, wrapped in dry moss or a paper bag.

Before putting it in winter storage, the ranunculus should be dressed for 30 minutes in Fondazole and dried well in the shade for three days.

If your ranunculus is a perennial and you do not have harsh winters, leave the rhizomes in the ground, just cover from the cold with lapels or fallen leaves. Even if some of the tubers die, you can always buy new ones and plant them in the spring on the plot.

Storing Ranunculus bulbs (tubers)-12 Pictured: Preparing ranunculus tubers for storage

Ranunculus home after flowering

Save the plant after flowering by placing it in a cool, shaded place, where the ranunculus will still grow for some time. Then comes the dormancy period, which is preceded by the yellowing and desiccation of the leaves and stems. Move the ranunculus to a room with a temperature of 15-18 °C and transfer it to new soil.

The Ranunculus is dormant for no more than a month and you will see new shoots in April. Each tuber produces 5-7 new shoots during the growing season. When digging them up, they are carefully separated and planted or stored until spring in the basement or in the refrigerator on the vegetable shelf. But it is worth knowing that ranunculus grown from stored tubers will be weaker and the flowers will be shallower. That is why many amateur flower growers prefer to buy new tubers every year.


  1. Read about the subject on Wikipedia
  2. Features and other plants of the Buttercup family
  3. All Species List at The Plant List
  4. More information at World Flora Online