I know I’ve written a “How to Grow Ranunculus” post before, and honestly, I couldn’t find hardly anything to add to it. However, I do have a lot of really great photos to help bring it up to date. Therefore, I present to you – “How to Grow Ranunculus” Version 2.0! I hope you enjoy!
If you live in one of those climates with awesome weather that’s totally conducive to growing ranunculus, this post probably isn’t for you – but, please do feel free to stick around and enjoy the pictures. Seriously, there’s going to be a lot of pictures. If you live somewhere like me, with a climate that gets fairly cold in the winter and heats up fast in the spring – I hope this helps!
I’ll be the first to admit that before I started growing flowers, I’d never even heard of most of them – ranunculus included. However, for ranunculus and I, it was love at first sight! I knew I had to grow them!
“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.” (This is from my previous post, still relevant).
“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. (update: I didn’t do it last year, and it didn’t seem to make a difference). 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. 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.” (Also still applicable, lol). Did I mention to plant with the “tentacles” pointing down?
“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.” (Still true!)
“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.” (At this point, I’m practically copying my other post verbatim – yikes!)
“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”.
9 thoughts on “How to Grow Ranunculus in Zone 6 (and probably other places, too!)”
A lovely post
I too have cold winters and hot spring, virtually going from winter to summer without pause and I think I might give some a go for next year’s planting (opposite hemisphere). Stunning. I want.
Great post – thank you!! I grew ranunculus for the first time this year, planted in autumn in UK. Like you said, there were no instructions on the pack so I just planted them direct outside In a deep raised bed and hoped for the best. I’d say about 50% came up…abit disappointed but the flowers I’m getting now are beautiful if a bit small. Will definitely plant more next year but pamper them a bit more!!
I live in Ohio. So are you saying not to plant them in the ground in the fall. I do not have a hoop house. There is so little info on these. I wanted to try planting in the fall and protecting with mulch. Do you think that would work?
I’m located in northern kentucky, and unfortunately they will not overwinter without protection. The corms begin to grow in october and will be green throughout the winter. If you aren’t growing many plants, ive had success covering each plant with a milk jug top cut in half to act as a mini greenhouse. Make sure its anchored into the ground well. On cold days, leave the cap on. On warm days, open the cap to vent the container. This works surprisingly well. Making a low tunnel is also a somewhat cheap option. 6 mil plastic sheeting from the hardware store works great. If you’re worried, you can definitely wait until spring, though the flowers might be a little smaller. Hope that helps! Good luck!
Hi there! I have read this article so many times I can’t believe I don’t have it memorized. BUT, I’m ready to do it! You have inspired me.
Here’s my deal. I’m a Z6er just north of the river from you. I purchased ranunculus bulbs from Floret this fall. I do not have a hoop house. BUT, we did just finish converting an old lean-to on the back of our barn into a DIY greenhouse. And, I have been monitoring temps.
– Coldness wise, we did get under 32 a few nights inside the greenhouse, so we bought a greenhouse heater w/ digital thermostat. So, all good there now.
– However, on sunny days, it can get 80-90degrees+ in there. Based on your experiments/experience… is that going to be too hot of a daytime temp for starting these guys inside the greenhouse. Also, with the right airflow, water, and temps… think they can stay in the greenhouse until March-ish?
That’s my plan, but would love your thoughts.
80-90F is definitely too hot. The greenhouse will need to be vented on sunny days. I especially had troubles with high humidity causing mold last year, so that would be another issue to watch for. Good luck! 🙂
I LOVE this post! I used it to start my ranunculus in October and I’m very pleased to say they just started blooming. THANK YOU for your help! Quick question: when you’re harvesting, where do you cut? On some varieties, buds start at the bottom. On others, multiple buds start halfway up the stem in a crook of a leaf. Surely I don’t cut those ones at the base? Any experience with this? As you might expect, I’m trying to encourage as much blooming as possible.