Ranunculus - Ranunculus asiaticus

Ranunculus - Ranunculus asiaticus

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Joyful Buttercups

The ranunculus genus has about four hundred herbaceous, perennial and annual species; buttercups are widespread in nature in Europe, Asia and Africa. In Italian meadows and woods, buttercups are present in numerous spontaneous species, with simple or semi-double flowers, usually yellow or white. In the gardens they grow hybrids of a species of Asian origin, as the name says, the ranunculus asiaticus. This species is perennial, rhizomatous, and produces large jagged leaves at the beginning of the spring and numerous flowers that are very double, roundish, with a dark or golden center. For a greater color effect in general i buttercups they are planted in the garden very close, so that they give the impression of producing flowers almost in bunches, even if in reality the floral stems, fleshy and erect, generally carry only one flower.


In this article we will discuss in particular the buttercups tuberoses, very common both as garden plants and as cut flowers: they are part of a very broad genus that also includes many herbaceous plants. The word ranunculus comes from the Greek and literally means "frog": it refers to the natural environments in which these plants thrive, therefore marshy areas, swampy or in any case where both atmospheric and ground-level humidity are very high. Spontaneous in Italy are the ficara, the aquatilis and the divaricatus. Here, however, we will only speak extensively of asiaticus, widely used in gardens and a subject of great interest by the floriculture industry. In fact, in Italy (especially on the Riviera dei Fiori) it is one of the most studied plants. The breeders have gone in search of increasingly double and large flower heads and extravagant or very pure colors, all to satisfy the desires of an increasingly demanding public.

Family and gender
Ranuncolaceae, gen. Ranunculus, sp. Orientalis or asiaticus
Type of plant Tuberose, up to 35 cm high
Exposure Full sun, half shade
Rusticitа Medium rustic
Ground Loose, rich, well-drained
colors All (even the green), except blue
Irrigation Quite frequent, without stagnation
Flowering From spring to summer
Composting Every 20 days from spring to summer

Growing buttercups

The rhizomes of the buttercups are of medium or small size, they settle in a rich and deep soil, very soft and drained, which allows the thin roots to develop without finding obstacles; in fact these flowers fear the compact and clayey soils, where they generally tend to bloom scarce and discontinuously. The rhizomes are planted in autumn in areas with a mild climate, and in late winter in areas with cold winters; the ranunculus rhizomes fear the frost, and the permanence in the frozen soil often causes the rot; they have a cylindrical shape, and are clustered in numbers of 5-9, attached in a group, like an umbrella, which is generally called a paw; the buttercup legs are buried, take them flat and position them at a depth of about 5-9 cm, depending on the size of the rhizome.
These are herbaceous plants with prevalent spring and summer development, so during the autumn and winter months they generally do not require treatment; as soon as we notice the buttercup sprouts it is advisable to water the plants, and periodically check that the soil does not dry completely, or that it remains dry for prolonged periods of time.
After flowering the plants form large clumps of leaves, which are to be watered occasionally, but generally only in case of scarce rains. When the leaves begin to dry up it is possible to cut them at the base and eventually unearth the rhizomes, to divide them or to put them back for the winter.
When planting, the soil is enriched with organic fertilizer, or with slow-release granular fertilizer; if we live in an area where buttercups winter in the ground we can supply granular fertilizer at the end of winter; this fertilization will be sufficient for the whole vegetative period of the plants.
In autumn we can divide the rhizomes, trying to maintain well-developed roots for each portion practiced; after the division we can put the rhizomes back in place, or we can put them in a fabric bag, with sawdust, and keep them in a dark and cool place until the end of winter.

Buttercup characteristics

It is a herbaceous plant from 25 to 35 cm high. The root is tuberous, dark and spider-shaped. The leaves are bright green. The basal ones appear oval, while the others are deeply engraved (as in the whole genus). The cultivars on the market produce flowers of various shapes, with a diameter that can range from 2 to 5 cm. The colors present are pink, red, lilac, white, yellow, orange, brown and even green. There are specimens with streaks and spots, or with contrasting edges.

Buttercup history

The ranunculus asiaticus in all probability it reached Europe at the time of the Crusades (hence from the 12th to the 13th century). In particular we know that it was Louis IX, on his return from the Holy Land, who introduced them to France: at the time, however, they were not particularly appreciated, perhaps due to a lack of knowledge of the cultivation method.
It was not until the middle of 1600 that someone began to appreciate and spread them. In particular, the Ottoman emperor Mohammed IV was a great fan of floriculture. He gave life to a vast collection of the most beautiful varieties (which he did research throughout Anatolia, Persia, on the island of Rhodes and Crete) which, clandestinely, also reached Europe, in the south of France.

Buttercup variety

First of all, it is difficult to find specific cultivars for home cultivation. Usually (even at specialized retailers) you must be satisfied with bags containing a mixture of colors or at most a single color, but without the name being specified.
It is important to know that from the 19th century until today breeders have selected various flower shapes and this classification is still used today.

Planting buttercup

Perhaps it is the most delicate phase and it is important to work scrupulously to obtain beautiful blooms.
What is the most suitable period?
You can proceed in both autumn and spring. In the Center-South and in the coastal areas the first option is certainly preferable. The plants, in fact, remain more in the ground before they bloom and more will give large corollas.
If we want to proceed in this period also in the North it is good to cover the area with abundant mulching based on leaves or straw or to use special sheets. Clearly in this case we must also pay attention to the exposure: the ideal is to insert them in the South, perhaps where there is a wall capable of accumulating heat during the day.
If after these interventions in spring you would like to enjoy the flowering longer, you can always decide to insert still other tubers, even in a scalar manner.
How to proceed?
It is advisable to deeply rehydrate the legs: in this way they will root first and the percentage of rooting will be significantly higher.
It starts the night before putting them in a bowl with plenty of warm water. In the morning we will see them visibly larger and swollen.
At that point we will dig deep holes twice their height. We will insert them and cover them. Planting distance is twice the width.
To obtain a beautiful overall effect it is advisable to create rather dense flowerbeds. An excessive distance between one specimen and another (especially in the absence of other essences) will inevitably give a somewhat sad air to our green space.


These are fairly rustic tuberoses, but to give their best they must live in fairly mild climates. In the whole of Northern Italy and in the Apennine areas it is good to protect the area throughout the winter.

Ground ranunculus

They want a light substrate and worked in depth, possibly rich in humus. They do not disdain even a clay soil or with a large quantity of silicon, provided that it is well drained and not at all or very little compact.
It is therefore important to work the area in time and eventually incorporate sand and a bit of mature flour manure (but do not overdo it, as they are quite sensitive to nitrogen access).
In pots they can easily be grown even in a container. However, we would like to point out that the legs will definitely run out of resources within a year and therefore will have to be completely replaced.
It is important to create on the bottom a thick draining layer based on gravel or expanded clay. For the rest we can easily use a flowering plant compost, possibly mixed with some sand and little manure

Watering buttercups

Buttercups do not like prolonged drought and this could significantly affect their flowering. Both at the plant and during the vegetative period we intervene rather frequently, especially in the absence of precipitation.
We only avoid having a perennially wet soil. This, in fact, could favor the appearance of radical asphyxia and rot, impossible then to be eradicated. We must pay particular attention if our soil is compact and poorly draining.
Even more careful you need to be with the potted specimens. In this case it is preferable to wait one more day than to exaggerate with the interventions. In any case, let's be sure of hydrating the substrate by inserting a finger in depth and evaluating the situation.

Fertilizing buttercups

In this case, fertilization is very important both to support an abundant flowering and to help the plant store nutrients for the coming year.
To obtain the best results it is good, from when we see the stems tick, administer a dose of liquid fertilizer for flowering plants every 20 days. The doses suggested on the packages are often too powerful. To avoid damage we can dilute them by twice the amount indicated on the label.
The best products are those poor in nitrogen and rich in potassium instead.
From the moment the flower wilts it will be better to administer a fertilizer with a greater quantity of phosphorus. This favors the accumulation at the radical level guaranteeing us better results in the coming year and the possible appearance of small legs suitable for reproduction.

Other care

When the flowers wither it is good to eliminate the flower head to avoid the ripening of the seeds. This in fact removes a lot of energy from the sample by exhausting any possible accumulation on the hypogeum level.
After this operation we have to wait patiently for the stem to dry. At this point we can take the legs (very gently, possibly passing the soil through a sieve so as not to damage them and not lose new ones).
They will be placed in a shaded and airy area. In this way they will lose excessive humidity and can be stored until the time of replanting.
It should however be specified that the recovered roots do not always continue to give good results year after year. Especially some cultivars tend to run out completely within two or three springs.
In this regard it is specified that it is also possible to avoid extracting them, leaving them undisturbed in the ground. In autumn we will simply insert other legs in order to make the area fuller in case of widespread death.

Buttercup - Ranunculus asiaticus: Buttercup multiplication

Buttercups multiply by division of legs or by seed. The first mode is absolutely preferable in the case of cultivars, since the latter absolutely does not guarantee the maintenance of the peculiar characteristics.
The sowing of the ranncolo is done in the open air from the end of summer to late autumn. A mixture of peat and sand is used, covering the seed very lightly. Germination occurs with temperatures around 18 degrees. When winter arrives, they should be moved to a cold greenhouse, though making sure it is well-lit.
Division proceeds at the time of taking the mother plants from the ground. The radicles must be kept in pots for at least a year and nourished abundantly with phosphorus-based fertilizers. They are generally ready from the second to the third year.
In the horticultural field the propagation takes place in vitro. This helps to maintain the characteristics, to produce large volumes and to avoid the proliferation of pathologies.
  • Buttercups

    The ranunculus, or ranunculus asiaticus, belongs to the family of ranunculaceae and is used in gardens and terraces

    visit: buttercups
  • Buttercup flower

    Hello, I have three pots of buttercups that are placed inside the house during the day, at night

    visit: buttercup flower


  1. Kazilkree

    Not logical

  2. Fekasa

    I'm sorry, but, in my opinion, mistakes are made. Let us try to discuss this.

  3. Frans

    All of the above is true. Let's discuss this issue.

  4. Aiken

    I agree with you!

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PERSIAN Simple or double flowers
FRENCH Double or semi-double flowers
TURBAN (A TURBAN) Very large double flowers
IN FLOWERS OF PEONIA Very double and large flowers