Answer: There are different types of ranunculus, some not very hardy and sold in fall with the bulbs, and others such as the one known as "buttercups" which are grown as hardy garden perennials (some of these garden perennial types are hardy to zone 3, most to 4 or 5).
The ranunculus typically sold alongside the fall-planted bulbs is R. asiaticus and it is not hardy in cold winter areas. It may survive as cold as a zone 8 winter if well mulched, but would not be hardy in Maryland.
In the colder zones such as yours, it would be started indoors in the early spring and then eventually set in the garden or displayed in a container. (Sometimes these are labeled as being "tender perennials" or similar terms in zones 4-7 for example.)
This tuberous plant does best in cool mild weather and will stop flowering and die back in summer heat. To start your ranunculus indoors, start about two months before your last expected frost date. Soak the tubers in room temperature water overnight just before planting, then set them one to a four inch pot about an inch deep. Use a well draining soil mix and keep them moist but not soggy to lessen the risk of rot. Provde ample light and cool room temperatures for the best results. They are so lovely in bloom (also make a good cutflower) it is worth the effort!
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