Ranunculus is a great flower for beginners to grow – some of you may have even been lucky enough to grow Ranunculus as your first flowers, perhaps as a child or as a budding adult gardener!
However, what you planted back then is probably quite different from the kinds of Ranunculus available these days. I’m talking about colour – lots of bright, bold and beautiful colour! And a superior growing performance…
Originally from central Asia, Ranunculus belongs to the Buttercup family; however, it appears in far more ornamental displays than its weed-like cousin. Its tissue paper-like petals create a stunning display, and with so many exciting shades available, this is one plant that any colour-obsessed gardener would love to have in their yard.
An Italian influence
This particular collection of Ranunculus was developed by Biancheri Creazioni, a family-run company in Italy. The grandfather of the family, Duilio Biancheri, used to send rose petals abroad for perfume production. His son Antonio, who did the same, began to also import Anemones and Buttercups from abroad, successfully selling them on a market in the Liguria region. In the 80s, he was joined by Alberto, who predicted trends in nearby markets and began to experiment, researching and selecting new varieties of Anemones and Buttercups.
Biancheri Creazioni became established, and the team began experimenting with new techniques for the genetic improvement of these plant varieties. This led to newer varieties that are still popular today, and at the same time to multiplication by in-vitro propagation, in which the company has become a worldwide leader.
These Ranunculus have been bred by Biancheri Creazioni to produce bigger flowers on taller, stronger stems, which is why they are the florist’s choice. Their other name, which is just as lovely, is ‘the rose of the spring’, and they are one of the highlights of the gardening year.
An Instagram goldmine
It’s almost as if these flowers were made for brightening up and Instagram feed! If you’re an avid ‘Grammer, combine your favourite shades of Ranunculus to create beautiful images for your social media pages.
This is the new way to brag about our gardens – so we may as well have fun with it! You could take a close up of those delicate-looking, papery petals, or go for the big picture and show off your Ranunculus rainbow as a whole.
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I don’t encourage buying plants solely for Instagram (although I can’t say I’m 100% guilt-free) but these Ranunculus are perfect for impressing your friends and followers. You’ll achieve vibrant colour in 90 days – they’re so ‘on time’ that you can set your watch by them! Plus, they’re fun and easy to grow from seed.
Reducing the carbon footprint of Ranunculus flowers
Ranunculus may have originally come from Asia and put down roots in Italy (literally), but you can now reduce your carbon footprint by growing your own flowers for cutting, rather than having them imported.
Just like food, electronics and clothes, cut flowers can be imported into the UK from all over the world. You might think that the bountiful bouquet that you just bought from a large supermarket chain may have come from a local grower, when in fact they come from countries far and wide.
Handy tip: if you’re thinking about growing cut flowers for the first time, you might be worried that, as soon as you cut your flowers, they’ll all be gone. A simple way to avoid this is to stagger your planting times, providing you with an abundance of both cut and growing flowers throughout the spring and summer!
For the longest lasting Ranunculus flowers, cut the blooms just as the buds show some colour and are squishy like a marshmallow, but before the blooms are fully open.
How to grow Ranunculus
- Keep the pack cool and dry until it comes to planting the “claws”. The ideal planting time varies according to where you live. In the south, plant them in mid-March. In the Midlands, plant at the end of March. In the north, plant in mid-April. Plant each claw, claw side down, 2cm/1in deep in a well drained compost (like Richard Jackson Multi Purpose Compost) in a 15cm/6in pot and place the pots on a sheltered, sunny patio protected from strong and cold winds.
- Water well, and then don’t water the claws again until the shoots appear a few weeks later. The young shoots are able to cope with light frosts but if a heavy frost is forecast after the first shoots appear, bring the pots inside and place in a cool spot indoors overnight. Persian buttercups are easy to grow but if they get very wet for too long, the claws can rot, stunting growth. So don’t over-water!
- For best results, feed at least once with Flower Power Premium Plant Food as the plants are growing. Your Ranunculus should grow around 40cm (15in) high and, depending on the weather, they should start to bloom around 90 days after planting.
Growing Ranunculus the next year
- Continue feeding with Flower Power after they’ve finished flowering.
- As the leaves begin to turn brown in the summer stop watering and let them dry out.
- When the leaves have completely died out, brush them off, and gently remove the new claws from each pot. Store these in a cool, dry, frost free place during the autumn, and plant again next spring.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.