How to Grow and Care Ranunculus Flowers?

Welcome back, everyone. Today we will discuss everything you need to know to Grow and Care for Ranunculus Flowers. If you Love those beautiful Spring Roses then growing Ranunculus is something you should consider this time. Ranunculus is also known as Persian Buttercup. It is an ideal late winter to spring flower plant for every flower lover. These beautiful flowers are generally perennial in USDA Agricultural zone 8 to 11. Although you can grow them in Zone 4 to 7 as flowering annuals.

Ranunculus is a short flowering plant. It can grow max up to 15 or 20 inches tall depending on the variety. Therefore it’s an ideal plant for container gardeners. Some of you may say what’s the point of growing bulbs if they can’t survive winter in my zone. Indeed, Ranunculus can’t survive winters especially n zone 4, 5, and 6. Still, you have the option to shift them in for winter care. These beautiful rose-like delicate flowers are worth trying even if you don’t have any gardening experience.

Basic Info About Ranunculus

  • Common Name: Persian Buttercup or Spring Rose
  • Botanical Name: Ranunculus asiaticus
  • Popular variety: Ranunculus Tecolote
  • Plantation: These flowers are grown as perennial in USDA Agricultural Zone 8 to 11 and annual in Zone 4 to 7.
  • Plant height: 15 to 20inches high. The plant height varies depending on the variety.
  • Flowers: Variety of color options available including Red, Burgundy, cream, yellow, gold, and many more. The size of each flower also varies from 2 to 5 inches depending on the plant variety and soil conditions.
  • Propagation Methods: You can propagate Ranunculus from its seeds as well as tubers or bulbs.
  • Soil Requirement: It requires slightly acidic to basic soil with good drainage. The soil must have high organic content to feed the plant during the blooming season.
  • Water Requirement: Ranunculus plant requires low to moderate watering through its growing season.
  • Sunlight: These plants can survive in full sun to part shade. Adjust the shade according to your local temperature and sunlight timing.

Propagation Methods of Ranunculus

Ranunculus plants can grow from their seeds and bulbs. You can find viable seeds and bulbs at your nearest garden store. If you don’t find one nearby then look out for ranunculus bulbs on Amazon. Some of them are good and I have tried some of them, so you can probably trust that.

Only make sure to choose a reputed seller. It is important as both Ranunculus seeds and bulbs are prone to some diseases and defects. And if you get those then it will cost you money and time without any flowers.

Overall it’s a fact that Ranunculus seeds and bulbs, both are not very easy to grow. You have to accept that sometimes luck can prevail over your experience. Still, I would say, It’s worth trying and relying on your experience than just thinking about garden luck.

Get up, go ahead and give it a try. October to December is ideal for growing ranunculus in USDA zone 8 to 11. If you live in zone 4 and above then don’t worry. Start the plants indoors and wait till mid-January or a little more to transplant them outside.

Check out my previous post: How to Germinate Ranunculus Bulbs?

When to Propagate Ranunculus?

In USDA Zone 8 to 11, you should propagate or plant Ranunculus from October till December. Propagate them in Mid-Jan till March in Zone 4 to 7.

Technically you have to wait for the night temperature to rise above 48 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This would result in daytime temperature reaching 55 degrees or more. Just look out for your local yearly temperature chart and mark the month when it rises above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Make those days and plant the bulbs at least 70 to 80 days before that.

Ranunculus plants grown for bulbs or tubers can start blooming within 90 days of the growth period. Only make sure the bulbs are big enough to bloom in the season and grow them in the right condition. Feed and nurture them and get rewarded with lots of beautiful Persian buttercups in the spring.

If you are planning for growing the seeds then start them indoors early during winter. Let the tiny sprouts grow and mature for a couple of months inside a grow tunnel or greenhouse. Later move them out during peak spring season. They will not bloom this year no matter what you try or do. So Just let them grow bigger and they will be ready to bloom in a couple of years.


Soil requirements to Grow Ranunculus Plants

Just like any bulb or corm, ranunculus plants also need soft, light, well-drained soil. Proper drainage and healthy soil is the basic requirement for Ranunculus bulbs.

The soil should have a Ph between 6.3 to 7.2. Generally, it is not that difficult to maintain. All you need is a balanced proportion of compost and lime in the soil. You can also use wood ash to balance the acidity of the soil.

One thing I must confess is that It takes me 3 years to perfect the soil for Ranunculus in my terrace garden. It was not easy at least for me. I am not an expert and yes I don’t have any fancy lab equipment to check the bits of what happening in the soil. I achieve success with lots of tries and errors. Finally, it worked for me, and here’s my soil mix composition for Ranunculus plants.

I use 30% garden soil free from any pebbles or stones, 20% clean river sand, 20%  dry organic compost, 10% good quality bone meal, 10% Cocopeat, 5% perlite, 3% balanced NPK 10:10:10, and 2% Contact fungicide.

I know it’s hard to judge the proportion with a percentage so you can use a plastic cup for comparative measurement. May assume 1 cup as 10% of the actual soil mixture. A little bit of change is obvious but try to stick to the proportion as much as you can.

Watering Cycle for Ranunculus

Max 1-inch water per week during the blooming season and 1/2 to 1/4 inch per week throughout the year.

Watering is not a big deal for Ranunculus. These beautiful flowering plants don’t need much water to grow. You can leave them without water for 7 days and they will not die. For better results and healthier bloom, I would suggest watering only when the soil looks completely dry white, or powdery grey. Nothing more is needed.

Increase watering only during blooming season. Water can help in new bud formation and frequent blooming. Other than that, you can let the plant dry at the end of the season without water. It will help with the storage of bubs without fungal infection.

Also read: Daffodil Plants: Common Pests and Disease Care

Sunlight and Temperature Requirements

Just like any other flowering plant, Ranunculus does need proper sunlight to bloom. Ideally, 6 to 8 hours or direct or part sunlight is necessary to grow and bloom Ranunculus. Always try to grow ranunculus in full sun in cooler zones and part shade especially in Zone 9,10, and 11.

Only 4 or 5 hours of direct morning sunlight is sufficient in hot Agriculture zones. Therefore, it is good to place your Ranunculus plants in a spot where they can get up to 6 hours of direct or indirect sunlight.

Ranunculus: Seeds vs Bulbs

We can indeed grow ranunculus with its seeds as well as bulbs. But are they both equally good? Or do plants grown from seeds differ from those grown from bulbs?

Umm! It’s Right, Ranunculus plants grown from seeds and bulbs may differ a lot.

First of all, they both differ a lot in their blooming time. Plants from bulbs can bloom in the same season on plantations where those grown from seeds will need at least 2 years to bloom. It’s a huge difference.

Next, Bulbs are known to have identical characteristics to their parent plant but seeds will likely differ in inheritance. Ranunculus grom form seeds can have a lot of surprises. The bloom size, color, timing, and quality, everything can differ from its parent. Sometimes it can give you a unique new variety especially if you are lucky. Otherwise, you may end up with lots of foliage and no bloom.

On the other hand, Ranunculus grown from bulbs is identical to their parent. The size of the flower can differ but the quality will remain the same. It has great advantages for horticulturists but not for breeders. As no new variety can be grown from this method of propagation. New Ranunculus varieties can only grow from sexual reproduction. Therefore it requires seeds to propagate.

Overall both of these methods have some pros and cons. If you want something surprising then try the seeds or else try the bulbs for known bloom characters.

Is it easy to grow Ranunculus for Seeds or Bulbs?

Yes, it’s easy to grow Ranunculus at least for me now after 3 years of failure and subsequent 5 years of success. For the rest of you, it depends on what you know and what you are prepared to do. Just try to upgrade your gardening skills every day.

Ok! Trust me neither of these two methods is easy nor too difficult. All you need is proper technique and a little bit of information to grow ranunculus.  You will face some problems and difficulties with the plantation. It’s your experience and dedication that will help you out of those tiresome situations. So I would say or maybe suggest that spend time on gardening, learn more about Ranunculus plants and stop thinking and mourning about the previous failures.

Time and dedication will help you to perfect your techniques and slowly you will succeed in the toughest task of all. Good days and Enjoy gardening!

Check out: How To Propagate Daffodils?

How to Grow Ranunculus from Seeds?

  • Buy Ranunculus Seeds from a Trusted store or any reputed Ranunculus seller at Amazon.
  • Look out for any mold or fungus on the seeds and discard them if anything is seen.
  • Treat the seeds with liquid consortia and contact fungicide.
  • Fill 3 to a 4-inch plastic container or a seedling tray with soil mix and water it thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle the tiny flat ranunculus seed on the top of the wet soil mix and gently cover it with the same soil mix. Only put soil enough to cover the seed, not more than that.
  • Cover the tray with cellophane or plastic wrap and put it over a heat mat. You can also place it in dark storage for a couple of weeks.
  • Water again only to keep the seeds moist, don’t overwater the soil.
  • The seeds will germinate within 2 to 3 weeks. It will take another 2 to 3 months for the seedling to be ready for transplantation.
  • Once the seedlings are 4 to 6 inches tall with a couple of mature leaves then transplant them in an individual container or garden bed.
  • These seedlings will take a couple of years to be ready to bloom. So take care of them and let them grow and mature.

Grow Ranunculus from Bulbs

  • Get some healthy Ranunculus tubers or bulbs from the store or online.
  • Inspect them for any fungal infection or diseases. They will look like octopus babies. Don’t worry if it looks dry and tangled. It will be fine after the plantation.
  • Put the bulbs in water mixed with consortia or fungicide for 2 to 3 hours to soak. Although it is optional soaking can help the plant to give a head start. They will germinate faster and bloom early in the spring after soaking.
  • Fill a bulb tray or 3 to 4-inch pot with flower mix or your custom soil mix.
  • Make a 2-inch deep hole and Place only one tuber with the octopus-like legs downward.
  • Separate each tuber by 4 to 6 inches in a tray or garden bed. Each row must be spaced at least 8 inches for proper movement space.
  • Plant bulbs in October and November in Zone 8, 9, 10, 11, and after Late January in Zone 4 to 7.
  • Water only once and leave the bulbs in a dark warm spot to germinate. Learn more about How to Germinate Ranunculus Bulbs?
  • The Bulbs will sprout within 3 weeks. Sometimes it may take longer in low temperatures. So don’t worry if it takes 4 weeks to show the first leaf set above the soil.
  • Once Sprouted water the plants moderately only when requires. Wait for the soil to look dry.
  • The new Ranunculus plant will be ready to bloom in 90 days after sowing. Just wait and take care of it.
  • You can transplant the new plants outside once the temperature exceeds 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

General Care for Ranunculus Plants

  • Feed the new ranunculus plants twice every month with liquid fertilizer. Use NPK:10:0:6 or NPK:10:10:10 with dilution. You can also use seaweed extract and flower food to get a bigger bloom.
  • Don’t overwater and make sure the soil remains dry after the watering cycle. Overwatering can quickly kill the ranunculus roots. Eventuallually it will kill the plant due to root rot.
  • Use neem oil spray to deter or distract bugs. Chemical pesticide is usually not required especially if you take care of your plants carefully.
  • Keep the plants clean by occasional pruning especially after flowering. This will encourage new blooms and prevent pest attacks.
  • Let the plant dry after blooming season and stop watering completely.
  • Cut back all of the dry foliage at the end of the summer season. Later you can dig up the tubers and store them for next season. In Zone 9 and above, just leave the tubers in the soil until fall and they will grow back again on their own.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

2 thoughts on “How to Grow and Care Ranunculus Flowers?

  1. I bought already bloomed Ranunculus Macho purple and use organic soil with all of organic fertilizers- –But if transplant to container (I fool watering- after transplantation, but the next day morning I was surprised. ..they all of -leaves and nice floflowers- were almost died. sick …I can’t understand why? ???-maybe I might separate the Roots? ??-Really it’s surprised for me. ..(I transplanted at the night time- 11pm)

    1. This can happen sometimes. The Ranunculus plant may react adversely to transplant shock. If the soil is loose and healthy then wait a few days and it will adjust. If the roots are damaged then it will take some time to regrow with fresh foliage and new blooms.

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