Ranunculus is a spring-flowering bulb that produces masses of papery blooms in intense shades of rose, salmon, pink, red, gold, orange, yellow and white. The flowers, which resemble miniature peonies, grow on stems from 8 to 18 inches tall, depending on the variety. The lacy leaves are bright green. Ranunculus isn’t difficult to grow, and does well in the ground or in containers. The ruffled blooms can be cut for long-lasting floral bouquets.
Prepare a planting spot in well-drained soil and bright sunlight before the ground freezes in October or November. Spade the soil to a depth of about 8 inches, then dig in 2 to 3 inches of ground bark, compost or manure.
Dig a hole for each ranunculus bulb. Plant the bulbs 1 to 2 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart. The tubers, which look like clumps of tiny, dried up bananas, should be planted with the tips facing down.
Water the ranunculus deeply, saturating the entire planting area. Apply 1 inch of mulch, such as bark or straw. Water the area again when you see sprouts beginning to emerge in two to three weeks. The tubers will bloom in spring.
Remove wilted blooms from the ranunculus plants, and cut the ranunculus blooms for bouquets as often as you like. Cutting the blooms will encourage the ranunculus plants to continue blooming.
Allow the foliage to remain on the plants, then stop watering when the foliage begins to turns yellow. The tubers can remain in the ground if the soil is kept dry. If the soil is damp, the tubers should be removed. Allow the foliage to die down completely, then cut the stems down to 2 to 3 inches. Dig the ranunculus tubers and store the tubers in a dry, cool room until the tubers can be planted in October or November.