The Q&A Archives: Ranunculus Indoors And Out

Question: I recently ordered Ranunculus from the Burpee's catalog and I'm curious to know if I can refrigerate the bulbs and force them indoors later in the year. If so, are there any particular instructions or methods I should use? I of course also planon planting the Ranunculus outdoors; anything I should be aware of for planting in zone 7b?<br><br>I appreciate your response, and I'd alos like to say how nice it is to search the Q&A section and read all the different messages, thanks....

Answer: Ranunculus is a tender, summer-blooming bulb, and would not require a chilling period to be grown indoors. If you are planning on trying it indoors, remember it does best in a cooler spot. If you "force" it to bloom early, note that it won'tcontinue to bloom at its normal time when you set it outdoors--you'll use up its energy on the early blooms. If you decide to force it indoors, you can set the entire pot in the ground, and care for it throughout the summer until the foliage dies back, then lift the pot and store the bulbs.<br><br>When planting outdoors be sure the spot has good drainage; they will rot and die quickly if their "feet" stay wet. Also, some sun is good, too much is not. They will not like baking in an area with no relief at all. Be sure to soak the tuber in water for a few hours before planting. When placing them in the soil, the "claw" should face downwards. Outdoors also remember to keep on top of soil moisture...shouldn't be too wet, but should never dry out either. After they stop blooming in the summer, let the foliage die down and dry the tubers out. Store in bags of dry peat in a cool (50F), dry area until planting time next season. Some warm area gardeners leave them in the ground all winter, some do not. You are right on the edge of the plant's hardiness; I feel it is best to go ahead and lift them.

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