How hard are Ranunculus to grow?

linnea56(z5 IL)April 17, 2011

When you see those shrivelled up little claws in a package, it's hard to imagine them even being alive. :)

For tender bulbs, I have grown dahlias and tuberous begonias (easy) and caladiums (not easy). Where would Ranunculus fall on this scale? Thanks!

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They were very easy for me ...soaked them overnight and planted them claws down directly in the bed, they sprouted in a week and bloomed in around 3rd month of sprouting, but my zone is hotter and Caladiums grow like weeds here..

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 2:20AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

3rd month? So they are slow to bloom? I might have missed it on this one, then. Our growing season might be too short to try them. I saw some lovely ones in a local conservatory, and that made me want to try them.

I was looking online last night though, and didn't find them from the catalog vendors I normally use.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Yes they were late bloomers as compared to my other bulbs and annuals, planted in December 1st week and bloomed by March this year till heat got them.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:04AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

When I lived on the coast they grew like weeds. When they were through I saved the roots(I can't bring myself to call them bulbs)and separated them into many more roots for the next season. Each stem will be connected to its own root and just needs to be unwound from the other roots. Each root as planted will be three or more when dug and separated. Al

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:23AM
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steve22802(7a VA)


In your zone (z5) you will find them very challenging to grow well. You will find these even more difficult to grow in your climate than caladiums. Note that Izhar and Calistoga are in perfect climates for growing Ranunculus so their experiences are not at all relevant to you. It does help however to understand the way that Ranunculus behaves in these climates.

Ranunculus are a cool season plant with a frost sensitive rhizome. In an ideal climate (like Carlsbad, CA) you would plant the rhizome in late fall and it would put out roots and then leaves from December - February and then bloom in March or April. After that it would go completely dormant during the hot dry summer. The problem with trying to grow them in the ground in cold climates is that the rhizome is not cold hardy so you can't plant it in the fall and let it get established in preparation for spring blooming. If you have have nice cool summers you can probably plant it in early spring and have a summer blooming season but then you will have to dig it up and store it in a frost free location over the winter. If you have hot summers (like me) it doesn't work to plant it in the spring because the plant doesn't have enough time to get established before the weather gets hot and triggers the blooming process. Without being properly established it will put only small weak blooms or none at all. I've tried several times and had only limited success growing it in the ground. I do have a nice one that is about to bloom in a pot and that may be an option for you if you have a cool sunny location for the plant to grow along during the winter.

- Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: Carlsbad Flower Fields

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 4:13PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thank you very much. I had a feeling they might be too difficult for me here. Our summers are hot and humid. I might try them someday if I get a greenhouse, but for now, I guess I'll let this one go!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 8:01PM
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I've had an overall failure (planted indoors)and don't know why.
Three of 40 bulbs planted sprouted and digging in the barren pots I can find no evidence of a bulb ever having been present. No carcass, no roots, no mass, nothing.
I used store bought ranunculus packs around November 2013 (about 30-45 bulbs) in 6 to 8 inch deep pots and window boxes filled with nice soil/compost mix, topped with about a half inch of leaf mold.
The house temperature since then has been between 55 and 68 degrees (F).
The bulbs were soaked at least 14 hours and were easy to separate when needed. I watered well for first two weeks, then about once a week, not letting it get waterlogged. or dry
It seemed to me the conditions were good.
Any ideas?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:49PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Instructions here are to soak when first planting, then do not water again until you see foliage. They are quite vulnerable to rot when they have no foliage.

They have a tendency to vanish here as well, although they are on the whole quite reliable.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:56PM
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