Ranunculus Asiaticus: Common Pests and Diseases

Ranunculus Asiaticus is a beautiful flowering plant. Most of us know it by the name “Persian Buttercup”. It is an easy to grow plant especially if you know the gardening basics. Although there are some Common Pests and Diseases that can damage your Ranunculus plants. Root rot is a common problem during rainy days in Ranunculus. Sometimes it can also happen due to waterlogging. Pests like aphids, mealybugs, and powdery mildew are also common in Persian buttercup.

It is true there are some problems that can make your job difficult. But don’t worry there is an easy solution to handle all of these problems. Simply keep the plant clean and its foliage dry. The main source of every plant problem is the excess moisture over its foliage. Once the foliage is clean and dry, it reduces the chance of any pest attack.

Is your Ranunculus plant infected? Keep reading to sort out any of these problems.

Ranunculus Pests and diseases
Ranunculus Pests and diseases

Check out my previous post: How to Grow and Care Ranunculus Flowers?

Is Ranunculus prone to pest attack?

No, Not Really, Ranunculus plants are not very prone to pest attacks. Though Sometimes in high humidity the plant can get some aphids or mealybugs. Other than that only birds, squirrels, and rabbits can pose problems to these plants.

Usually, new tender baby ranunculus plants are more prone to pests and disease attacks. These plants are an easy target for the pests like aphids. They find it comfortable to suck sap from these soft leaves. Once feeding is done they multiply and hide beneath the shade of these leaves.

The main reason for any pests or diseases especially in ranunculus is overwatering. 9 out of 10 times ranunculus plant dies only due to soggy soil. It causes the roots to rot and eventually kills the plant.

Excess moisture around the roots and foliage acts as an easy breeding ground for pests and fungal spores. Therefore if your ranunculus plants stay in soggy soil for long then most probably they will be attacked by lots of pests.

Does Ranunculus attract bugs?

Yes, Ranunculus plants especially the showy flowers do attract bugs. Most of them are healthy and friendly garden pollinators like Bees and butterflies.

Insects like Honey bees and butterflies can help in pollination and hence are very helpful for the gardeners. But They are not alone at the party. Caterpillars, giant beetles, weevils, and some other bugs can also intrude the garden at this time.

So you should be aware of who is good and who is not. Act accordingly and yes avoid chemical pesticides are they can harm everyone without differentiation. You probably don’t want to harm those helpful pollinators.

Instead, maintain an eye on daily changes and observe if you find any physical damage. Generally, damage done by any of these harmful bugs can be easily seen. If you are active then checking the problem is pretty easy before it can pose any serious threat to the plant.

Spraying neem oil and soap spray have helped me all through these years in controlling pests in my garden. It can act effectively as first aid for pest control, especially for ranunculus plants.

Why do Pests attack My ranunculus Plants?

The answer is pretty simple. Every creature including these tiny bugs or pests is in regular search of food and shelter. If they find any of these near your ranunculus flower bed then they will definitely attack.

Too much compost or organic matter in the soil or excess moisture can attract a lot of harmful pests toward your plants.

How do Pests or diseases reach my Ranunculus plants?

You must understand the spread of disease in the garden in order to know how your Persian buttercup gets infected. You should know that there is mainly two-source that can breed and spread any plant disease. Any plant disease is either soil-born or water-born. Both infected soil or water even a splash can cause the disease to spread from one ranunculus plant to other. Infected soil can also infect the tubers or bulbs that can destroy the entire batch or even generations.

Learn more about Ranunculus Pests and diseases

Others are just the carriers that take the disease from one plant to other.  Infected gardening tools are the first and most important carrier of plant disease. Especially pruners, shears, cutters can take fungal and bacterial plant infection from one plant to another. This is why I always suggest sanitizing the tools before and after each use.

Sometimes an infected container from a previous season can also cause the problem. Pests are also silent carriers of diseases. They not only feed and breed on the foliage and sap but also spread infection from one plant to another. Therefore, always try not to allow serious pests buildup near your ranunculus plant.

At last, if the plant seems severely infected and others are still safe then it is better to discard the infected one to protect others. Wasting time in treating one infected plant can damage your entire ranunculus batch. So act smart and remove the infected plant maybe with its soil if it shows fungal or bacterial infection. Don’t worry there is nothing more to do, you can’t save that infected plant. Instead, buy some new ones and start again.

Also Read: How to Germinate Ranunculus Bulbs?

Common Pests and Disease of Ranunculus

  • Aphids
  • Mealybugs
  • Thrips
  • Spider mites
  • Powdery mildew
  • Caterpillars
  • Grubs
  • Nematodes
  • Birds
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits

Aphids are transparent tiny bugs that feed on plant sap. It is usually not dangerous for the plant unless there are really a lot of aphids feeding on the same plant. The infected plant will show shunted growth and faded leaves. It will lose its brightness due to a lack of plant sap.

Mealybugs are small bugs covered with white snowy covering. This covering protects it from many pesticides and solutions. These bugs also feed on plant sap and yes they are really dangerous for the plant. They usually attack new growth and stop the growth completely.  Sudden curling at the tips and deformed stack and stem formation is a dedication of mealybug infestation. These bugs are really easy to identify but hard to treat.

Thrips and spider mites are also tiny bugs that feed on plant sap. They are dangerous but not deadly for the ranunculus plants. Generally, most ranunculus plants are not very affected by these bugs. Only those plants growing in dense clusters or in the infected surrounding are in threat. Identifying these bugs is not very easy especially if the plant is not seriously affected. Usually, light-colored lines marked on the leaves through the edges are the sign of spider mites. Treating them is not very easy.

Powdery mildew is a colored spore deposition on the foliage. It can cover the foliage and force it to stop photosynthesis. You can identify these are white, grey, or pink powder on the damp soil or leaf surface. Keeping the plant dry and clean should be sufficient to treat this problem.

Bugs that cause Problems to Ranunculus

Caterpillar and grubs feed on leaves and tender stems and are devastating for the new growth. They are easy to identify but not so to treat manually. Though you can pick some of them by hand if there are hundreds of those crawling on the plants then only chemical solution treatment is an option. Prevention is a better solution in this case as damaged plants cant bloom this year so it’s a waste to spend more money on the treatment.

Nematodes are tiny worms that usually damage the roots and tubers. And yes, you can’t see them with open eyes. They are hard to observe and treat. Hot water treatment is only helpful in this situation and still, it’s not a guaranteed solution.  Again prevent is a better option as an infected plant can never be saved from nematodes.

Check out this post: How To Propagate Daffodils?

Animals that can damage Ranunculus plants

Birds can eat new tender baby plants. Baby seedlings of ranunculus are especially in danger of these creatures. You can use nets to protect the small plants until they grow tall enough to stand on their own. Birds usually eat on seedlings shorter than 5 inches.

Squirrels and Rabbits can also damage the plants especially the small tender ones. They also love to eat the buds and yes, I have faced this problem a lot. You can only treat them with proper netting and coverings. Sometimes feeding these creatures away from the flower beds can also help. If they are full then they probably do not eat your lovely plants, at least I hope so.

Easy Pest Treatment for Ranunculus Plant

Just follow these 3 easy steps or tasks to avoid most of the ranunculus plant problems including pests and disease.

  1. Use healthy infection-free bulbs, seeds, soil, and containers to grow Ranunculus.
  2. Keep watering Low and plants dry. Avoid overwatering and wait for the soil to dry before the next spell. Also, try to avoid splashing soil on the foliage during watering. This is the main reason for fungal infection in the foliage. If possible then use a drip system to water your plants. Finally, never water the flowering plants at night after sunset, Not even if you forget the watering schedule.
  3. Don’t over fertile the soil. Too much compost or organic matter can act as a breeding ground for pests and hence it should be avoided. Instead, use balanced NPK or liquid fertilizer twice every month to feed the ranunculus plants.

Treat the soil and container with contact fungicide before use. Also, remove any dead foliage or weed growth near the flower beds.  It is sufficient to avoid any fungal growth and hence your plants will stay safe.

At last, spray your ranunculus plants with soap and Neem oil solution twice every week to prevent pests from gathering. This is an effective prevention method. If you follow these carefully then you will not face any serious problems in ranunculus gardening.

Also Read This: Daffodil Plants: Common Pests and Disease Care

How to avoid Pest attack on Ranunculus?

  • Don’t use Infected Ranunculus tubers or bulbs and seeds.
  • Avoid using old planters and containers without fungicide treatment.
  • Treat the soil mix with fungicide and take proper care to make sure it is not infected with fungal spores or nematodes.
  • Next, avoid overwatering and over-fertilizing the soil.
  • Treat the tools with rubbing alcohol to avoid any disease spreading in your garden.
  • Finally, Prune and thin the cluster especially if you grow ranunculus as perennials. They can grow really dense with subsequent growth every year. Too much gathering can lead to infection so try to avoid it.

Write in comments about today’s topic-Ranunculus Pests and diseases. Do you like it or not? Is it helpful? Let us know and keep gardening.


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.

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