01/27/2013 11:32 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Sprout Home Plant Of The Week: Ranunculus

Ranunculus is a genus that is composed of many species, and even more hybrids, with floral enthusiasts always looking for new colors, textures and overall stronger flowers. They're popular in the garden as they tend to be lustrous and velvety in texture, with dense petal structure displayed in usually singular flowers. In Latin the name Ranunculus means 'little frog.' But since this beauty is completely un-frog-like, this is surely an instance where the frog has turned into a prince.

rancunculus flowers

Most Ranunculus you find may be grown from corms, which are a little different, but can be treated much like a bulb. Treat these as cool weather annuals in northern or warmer regions, as they are only tolerant of Zones 8-11, most commonly, and will shy away during summer heat. They will be available for planting at your local garden center when the rest of the summer bulbs become available. Plant these appropriately to your gardening zone. For example, gardeners with mild winters may plant Ranunculus in the autumn for spring blooming, while gardeners with cold winters can find stock of Ranunculus and other summer flowers to plant in early spring for later spring and summer flowers.

As a cut flower, Ranunculus can be found on a fairly regular basis. When purchasing from your florist, choose buds where color is just visible, and store in fresh water in a cool location, as they will open quickly once warm. Strip off the majority of the leaves, especially from those that will sit below the water line. Any higher leaves can be maintained or removed, but bear in mind that the flowers often last longer than the leaves, which can be removed at a later time if they begin to fade. The stems are quite soft, so be careful not to bruise or crush them in handling. A personal tip is to incorporate the closed flowers and small flower buds in your arrangements, as they offer a grace and beauty all of their own, perfectly complimenting the open flowers.

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