Ranunculus or Asian buttercup is a beautiful rose-like flower with ruffled petals. Contrary to the Northern regions, it is an early bloomer in Texas. Growing it in the south is a bit different than the north. Here is how to grow ranunculus in Central Texas. It may also apply to the warm regions that don’t get extreme winters.
Is Ranunculus annual or perennial?
Ranunculus is considered an annual. It does not stand Texas heat as it corms tend to succumb to rot.
When to grow Ranunculus in Central Texas?
Ranunculus is a cool-season flower. Plant it in the fall, around October, for it to grow foliage all the way through winter. It will be the first to bloom late winter, declaring the approach of Spring.
The corms start showing up in nurseries in Spring, which is not the best time for Central Texas. The solution is to get them whenever you find them, then store them in the fridge for later use.
Ranunculus thrives when the average day temperatures are 75F (25C), and 65F (16C) at night. That’s most likely November in Central Texas.
How to grow Ranunculus in Central Texas?
Since Texas summers linger through the fall, it is not a bad idea to start Ranunculus some time ahead. Once the temperatures are ideal for them to grow outside, they would have already put on good growth.
How to start Ranunculus indoors?
Ranunculus grows out of corms, which look like a bunch of tiny bananas. They come in a dehydrated form, so it is important to handle them with care. They are very delicate and easy to break.
- Soak the corms in water for four hours.
- Prepare clean small pots, about three inches.
- Fill the pots with premoistened seed starting soil mix.
- Place the corms, banana bunch up (claws down).
- Barely cover with soil and water.
- Set them in a cool place under grow light or a window.
- Keep the soil moist, but not wet, at all times.
- The green growth will start peeking out in two to three weeks.
- Care for it till it reaches two to three inches.
- Harden the little plants off before planting them out.
How to plant a Ranunculus outdoors?
Once the temperatures are stable at 75F (25C) during the day and 65F (16C) at night, it is time to plant ranunculus out.
For planting transplants follow these steps:
- Dig a hole as big as the root ball.
- Add a slow-release fertilizer for a good start.
- Hold the container upside down into the palm of your hand.
- Squeeze and tap on the base to release the root ball.
- Place the plant in the hole at ground level.
- Back-fill with soil, press gently as you fill to eliminate any air pockets.
- Water deeply.
For planting corms refer to the “how to start ranunculus indoors?” It is the same process for direct ground planting.
How much sun does Ranunculus need?
Try to find the sunniest spot in the garden. Six hours or more are a must for Ranunculus to bloom to its fullest.
What kind of soil Ranunculus need?
Ranunculus need rich and well-draining soil. If the soil is too heavy, it will cause the corms to rot. If the soil is sandy and drains too fast, the corms will dry out and won’t be able to survive.
For either situation, amend the soil with organic compost. It will loosen up the clay soil and improve its drainage. For sandy soil, it will bind soil particles much better, improving moisture retention.
How to water Ranunculus?
Watering Ranunculus can get tricky; too much water will cause them to rot, too little and they die.
Water Ranunculus on a scheduled pattern. First, test moisture level between each watering to know how long it lasts. Don’t let the soil turn bone dry before you water again.
How to space Ranunculus?
Expect the ranunculus plant to reach 12- 18 inches in diameter. Plant them one foot apart for a better contrast between the foliage and popping color of the flowers.
Is Ranunculus a cut flower?
Ranunculus is a great choice for cut flowers. The plethora of colors they offer satisfies a wide range of picky spectators. They do stand out in any flower arrangement, with their paper-like layered petals.
Can Ranunculus grow in pots?
You can grow Persian buttercups in pots as long as you keep them well-watered. One corm can fit in a three-inch pot. Do the math if you want to grow them in a bigger pot.
Can I leave Ranunculus in the ground?
In Central Texas, it is not advisable to keep your ranunculus corms in the ground. Once they are done blooming, at the end of spring, it is best to take them out of the ground. Many think that you cannot store the corms, the truth is otherwise.
How to store Ranunculus corms?
- Once the plant is done blooming, the foliage will start dying back.
- This is the time to cut the foliage all the way back.
- Use a hand trowel to carefully lift the corms.
- Lay them on paper and allow the soil on them to dry.
- A day or two later, brush as much soil as you can.
- Do not over-handle the corms.
- Put the corms in a paper or mesh bag.
- Label the bag with the name and the date.
- Place it in the fridge, where you won’t be bothering it.
- The corms will store just fine until the coming season.
How to encourage more blooms?
Keep cutting the flowers for arrangements or deadhead the spent flowers. The continuous maintenance will send more energy to the tubers and will send more blooms. You can also fertilize with a high phosphorus (middle number) fertilizer.