The Q&A Archives: What zones are Ranunculus hardy to?

Question: I work at a Home and Garden Showplace Nursery Center and we recently recieved a shipment of ranunculus plants. My boss had never heard of such things, but I have always loved these and seen them on many gardening shows. My question is, how hardy are ranunculus plants? I live in zone 5/6 in southwestern PA. I know they are part of the buttercup family, which buttercups themselves are hardy most everywhere as an annoying weed. Are there hardy hybrids and annual hybrids of ranunculus? Or is it a bulb that I can dig up like the cannas people grow in this region? These plants are something that I would hope to be perennial. There is nothing on the tag about the plant except for the general name, ranunculus. Of 3 books one says hardy to zone 4, the other said 9-11 and the other said 6. Please help!!!

Answer: Perhaps the confusion comes because ranunculus are tender and may have to be dug and replanted to protect them from hard frost. So, in zones 4 - 7 plant in spring, harvest in fall; in zone 8 they're hardy with a mulch (no digging necessary); and zones 9 & 10 they're completely hardy and do not need to be dug and replanted each season. Ranunculus are actually summer bloomers although they may flower in late spring. You can transplant them into the garden in full sun if the soil is moist, or part shade if the soil's on the dry side. If left in the ground the "claws" (bulbs) will multiply and you can dig and divide them after the foliage dies down in the autumn. Hope this answers your question! If you're selling these plants, it might be kinder to tell your customers to treat them as annuals - enjoy the flowers this summer but pull them out at the end of the season. That way, you'll avoid disappointment if someone fails to dig them up and overwinter them in a cool place.

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