The Q&A Archives: Ranunculus

Question: I purchased 3 of the plants from Home Depot and the blooms have gone and the plants look like they are dying. Do you have any tips for me. They weren't cheap and hate to lose them. They are in full sun, I fertilized them with Osmocote. I do not water them too much and tag said moderate water. Help!!!!!

Answer: Ranunculus usually bloom in June or July and then die down. They remain dormant until the following spring. Since yours are blooming quite early, I wonder if the natural cycle is slightly off and your plants think it is fall. I would prune off the dead flowers but leave the foliage alone. Once it has all died down you can gently pull it away.

General care of ranunculus includes:

Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3 inches to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available.

Site your ranunculus where they will get full day sun.

Dig holes and plant the ranunculus bulbs 2? deep and 4?-6? apart. The bulbs look like small, dark bunches of bananas, a curious shape that makes it easy to determine which side is up and which is down for planting. Tuck your ranunculus into the planting hole with the ?bananas? pointing down.

After planting, water well, thoroughly soaking the area. Roots and sprouts will form in the autumn. Winter will bring taller growth and flowers will develop in the spring.

When in bloom, feel free to cut ranunculus flowers for bouquets. This will not hurt your plants, in fact, the more you cut the more blooms your Tecolote ranunculus will produce. So snip away.

After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show. Water as needed during active growth periods. Ranunculus actually prefer not to be watered while dormant.

At the end of the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. Your ranunculus will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.

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