Ranunculus repens Flore-Pleno

aachenelf z5 MplsFebruary 15, 2013

I hadn't thought of this plant since my childhood and my grandmothers garden and then: There it was! - in the Forest Farms catalog. So, does my memory serve be correctly? Is this thing as adorable as I remember and should I get it? I've been reading it can become invasive in moist soil, but I don't remember it getting out of control in grandmas garden. Also, with the current drought outlook, it looks like moist garden's may be a thing of the past - at least around here - for the immediate future.

Just another zone hardiness observation: Forest Farms lists this one as z5. Grandmas garden was a solid z3.

Kevin

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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Kevin, I think all buttercup flowers are adorable and charming, sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone. And the double ones have such amazing swirled symmetry!

I have no experience with Ranunculus repens 'Flore Pleno', though I read it does spread by underground stolons/rhizomes. But because it is double-flowered and sterile, at least you won't have problems with it seeding about.

There are two hardy ranunculus forms with double flowers that I can vouch for, at least so far. One is Ranunculus acris 'Flore Pleno', which seems similar to a taller, bushier form of Ranunculus repens. I planted a few last spring from 4 inch pots and they flowered admirably through the month of June during a time of horrid heat, drought and highly erratic watering from a hose. Flowers were charming, long-lasting and about the size of a quarter, though I am sure they will be larger once established and/or the temperatures are more moderate (at least below 90F). The plants died down after flowering but resprouted a few basal leaves in September/October. This form is said to clump up and spread slowly.

The other one is Ranunculus aconitifolius 'Flore Pleno', which is also a taller, bushier clumper, but this time with very elegant and refined white flowers. It seems almost too perfect to be real. This was also planted from 4 inch pots last spring but grew vigorously into perfectly symmetrical little clumps with lush, glossy, dark green foliage with stunning white blooms starting in late May. Even with the heat, drought and irregular hose waterings, the flowers lasted through the month of June. The flowers are said to be quarter-sized when plants are mature, but for me, first season in horrendous conditions, they were dime-sized or smaller. But they were plentiful and each one was an amazing work of art. The plants also died down after flowering. At first, I was afraid the heat and drought killed them, so I scratched around the roots a but throughout the summer and they remained healthy and plump. I never noticed if it sent out new basal foliage or not. This form is also known as Fair Maids of France. I liked it so much that I have ordered a few more for spring, this time to plant in my front yard beds. By the time the foliage dies down, the surrounding Anemone 'Honorine Jobert' foliage will have taken over.

I purchased both of the above from Edelweiss Perennials, a nursery I very highly recommend. Plants tend to be in smaller pots but are exceptionally healthy and vigorous, and overall prices are quite reasonable. To me, Edelweiss is to perennials what Odyssey Bulbs is to geophytes--a first-class boutique nursery with selections that can be found no where else. If you go to the Edelweiss website, be sure to pull down "Ranunculus" from the drop down Genus menu on the side. There is a fascinating selection of other forms, including a few other hardy doubles which I haven't tried.

Far Reaches Farm also sells Ranunculus aconitifolius 'Flore Pleno'. I have ordered from them as well and they are also an excellent source.

Here is a link that might be useful: Edelweiss Perennials

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 5:02PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

ispahan

Thank you for all that information. As a child I remember being fascinated with the feel of these flowers. Because they had so many petals, they just seemed "solid" and very touchable to me.

I may have been wrong. Maybe grandma grew Ranunculus acris 'Flore Pleno' and not repens, but it's kind of hard to figure out from online info since the heights of each vary so much from source to source. However I don't remember the flowers being the size of a quarter as you mentioned - I know they were more the size of a dime.

Ranunculus aconitifolius 'Flore Pleno', sounds really lovely. I'll be checking the source you mentioned this weekend.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 5:46PM
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the_plant_geek(z5)

I have experience with R. repens 'Buttered Popcorn' but not the old 'Flore-Pleno' variety. 'Buttered Popcorn' is incredibly aggressive and will spread in even somewhat dry soils. If the soil is dry it will scorch, but that won't stop it from spreading. If 'Flore-Pleno' acts the same way, I would stay away from it for most mixed gardens, but it can work very well under trees and larger shrubs for a groundcover.

Quite a bit different is the R. ficaria 'Brazen Hussy' that I grow which likes cool shady spots and goes summer dormant. Ficaria types can be self seeders, but this one has bee too slow (I wish it would be faster actually!) to be a nuisance and I still have just 1 plant.

The Plant Geek
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    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

As a follow up, I noticed there is a section on hardy ranunculus in Daniel J. Hinkley's book "The Explorer's Garden." He was the former owner of Heronswood Nursery. He recommends avoiding even the double-flowered form of Ranunculus repens since it is extremely vigorous and will soon become a pest. Just FYI.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 6:32PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I've decided to stay away from repens after some weekend reading. The one grandma had must have been acris because I don't remember it spreading everywhere. I know her clump was large, but it seemed to stay in place.

Thanks again for the Edelweiss link. I'm going to order the the acris and aconilifolius. I am thinking about some of the ficaria, but I'm not sure yet. And most definitely the two Allium cyaneum which I had never heard of before. I've really grown to love the summer blooming allium and these sound wonderful.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 5:14AM
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Campanula UK Z8

you HOPE you are going to stay away from R.repens - in my allotment, this has been an enthusiastic weed - although easily removed, clump by clump - just that there are so many of them.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:54AM
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garden_crazy(z5 N IL)

The plant you are thinking of can't be the repens. -Nasty, nasty little plant, only about 3" tall but endlessly wide. The acris FP is well behaved for me and so cute, about 24" tall with tall wiry stems and basal type foliage. -I also have a double white that is only about 15" and has stayed in one clump for 3 or 4 years and is also really nice. -Sorry I don't know the variety. Edelweiss is wonderful!!!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:34AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

garden crazy - The problem with trying to ID this plant by height is almost impossible because various online sites list the height of repens anywhere from 6 to 24 inches. It's all very confusing.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:38PM
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Campanula UK Z8

R.acris is, I agree, a better behaved plant than the dreadful repens, aka creeping buttercup, a downright invasive plant. They may both be buttercups but they are a world apart in terms of welcome.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 2:55PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

UPDATE:

ispahan wrote:

The other one is Ranunculus aconitifolius 'Flore Pleno', which is also a taller, bushier clumper, but this time with very elegant and refined white flowers. It seems almost too perfect to be real.

Because of this thread (thanks Kevin) and specifically 'ispahan's' post I did go search out this plant and did put two in the ground last July or so. Of course they did nothing last season but this spring they have shown their promise ie perfect little white flowers which from a distance seem to float in the air. (But I must confess that I weeded one from the garden earlier this spring, not believing it was "Flore Pleno"...embarrassing.)

I think I will plant another one or two this summer. They seem to not take up much room and their flowers are quite unique. So far I highly recommend this plant.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 8:30

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:13AM
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