The Q&A Archives: ranunculus

Question: Is this a new plant? I bought 5 of these plants and they all died. They never had a second bloom.I gave two to my daughter and hers died also.$3.99 ea Homedepot Racine

Answer: Ranunculus has been around for years and years. These plants grow from corms or bulbs that look like a bunch of upside-down bananas. The corms are planted in the fall and the plants grow and flower in the spring. They usually die down in the summer but they resprout the following spring. I wonder if your plants have just gone dormant rather than have actually died. Here's how to grow ranunculus:

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 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.

If you are planting the corms or bulbs, dig holes and plant them 2? deep and 4?-6? apart. The corms/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 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.

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. It is important to withhold water from the bulbs during this dormancy period.

Hope this information is helpful.

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