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Ridiculous Ranunculus: Why these PITA flowers are worth growing in Vermont and why I love their more reliable cousin

Wow we love the Ranunculus! Seems like they are gaining popularity especially in cool weather zones. But these little buggers can be tricky to grow! Thats why we also always grow Anemone. Although the are not related biologically, Anemone and Ranunculus have similar growth times and habitat, so we typically plant them together. Anemone can be a great way for a beginner to learn about growing corms as they have the same sprouting process, however they tend to be more heat and cold tolerant as well as less suceptible to rot and disease. Keep reading for information on Ranunculus and Anemone, and how you can grow your own here in Vermont.

harvesting ranunculus
harvesting ranunculus at blume
Meron Bordeaux Anemone
bordeaux anemone at blume

Many growers have information about pre-sprouting and growing your anemone and ranunculus corms, information about  what a corm is, and how to get a great harvest. I encourage you to take some time to read about this process at Sierra Flower Farm, Floret, and Breck’s. They have great blog posts!


Keep in mind that ranunculus are not only sensitive to heat, but also to day length. They prefer days that are 8-12 hours long (short days), with temperatures below 70 degrees. That makes them an ideal spring plant in Vermont! However, if you are far behind in planting you will likely not get a great harvest from corms started later than the first week of April. 


When I first began growing, I found the availability of varieties overwhelming! To better understand the ranunculus varieties, I have made a quick reference chart. You will also notice some suppliers offer different corm sizes, i.e. “3-4cm” or “7cm.” Typically larger bulbs produce more stems of flowers, and have more success. 


Variety Name

Country of Origin

Bloom time

Height

Notes

Amandine

France

Blooms later

Mid- late

Tall, robust plats. 16”-18”

Blooms later than Labelle, but tolerates heat better and is prolific.

Aviv

Israel

Mid

12-14” medium

Large blooms, limited colors

Butterfly

Japan

Mid

14” medium

Single petal blooms, waxy flower that blooms in sprays, more expensive because of novelty

Clone

France

Early mid

Tall 16”

Bred 100% from tissue culture, disease free, more expensive

Cloni Success

Italy

Mid

Mid 16”

Bred from tissue culture. More disease resistant. More variety in colors.

GiGi

France

Mid, more tolerant of heat than clone

14” medium

Bred 100% from tissue culture, disease free, more expensive

Elegance

Italy

Mid to late, more heat tolerant

15”-20”

Large fluffy double blooms

Half Clone

France

Early mid. Quits blooming in longer day length

Tall 16”-20”

Bred from Half Tissue culture half seed, more affordable

LaBelle

France

Earliest

12” medium

Does not tolerate heat as well, stockier stems, abundance of blooms

Romance

France

Mid

Tall 16”-20”

Large double blooms, longer lasting vase life, grown from tissue culture, more expensive

Super Green

France

Early, Prefers cooler temps

14”-16” mid

Large green ruffled center makes this variety unique from all others.

Tecolote

USA and Holland

Earlier Bloomer

12-16” medium

Large blooms, limited colors


To a novice grower I would recommend Amandine and LaBelle varieties for starting out. These tried and true varieties come in a wide diversity of colors and will keep you begging for more next spring.


Amandine Salmon Ranunculus
Amandine Salmon Ranunculus




While a ton of information exists about growing these flowers successfully, not enough information exists about all the ways you can fail- and I have failed just about every way you can when it comes to ranunculus! Here is a quick list of ways you can avoid my mistakes:

Avoid these Ranunculus Mistakes:


Don't over soak- they really only need about 4 hours to rehydrate! Don’t forget about them in the bathtub or you could risk the corms falling apart and rotting. Imagine your corms as lovely little french ladies. They dont want to get pruny in their bubble bath. 


Don't plant the next day- I know. It is tempting to soak them on saturday and plant them on sunday. These lil buggers ripen quicker than an avocado! The will start to grow mold literally overnight. Avoid the temptation to postpone planting. As soon as they exist the spa, they want to get into the soil. Soak and plant into trays on the same day. 


Not to hot, not too cold- Avoid pre sprouting in a space warmer than 50 degrees- they could begin to rot. Also they do not like to be much below 40 degrees, as they will grow slower and if too cold- freeze and thaw and… Rot. Are you sensing a theme here? These little french ladies are prone to rot. I also recommend keeping your trays out of direct sunlight to get strong root growth to develop. Black out curtains and a noise machine. (just kidding about the noise machine…)


Don't overwater in the pre sprouting trays- This could also cause mold and rot. I water mine about once a week. 


Don't plant out in hot direct sun- Okay! You have made it through the dark days of pre sprouting and you are ready to plant these corms in the ground (or pots)! The delicate presprouted corms can easily get scorched or wilt on a hot day out in the sun. I recommend planting on an overcast day (we have plenty of them in Vermont mud season) and giving them a few days to adapt to being outside. 


Do not over fertilize, or fertilize at all. They love to be au naturale.


But what about Anemone!


I also want to highlight the Anemone, or as Nemo (finding nemo) would say “enememeoneee.” Not to be confused with the underwater dweller, these ethereal flowers will surely impress you with their hardiness and beauty. Personally I find them to be more beautiful, easier to grow, with a longer vase life. Their blooms open in the morning and close at night. When I sell them people frequently ask me if they are made of paper. I cannot get enough of these flowers, truly. Their presprouting process is the same as ranunculus, and they are more tolerant to temperature changes and more resistant to disease and rot. They are absolutely amazing in spring patio pots. I always cringe when I have to remove them at the end of the season. 


Pastel Anemone
pastel anemone at blume

Meron Pink Anemone
pink anemone and bon bon ranunculus



Similar to Ranunculus they have developed several varieties, but there are less color variation in Anemone. The colors offered are- Blue, pastel, white with a red center, panda (white with black center), bordeaux (burgundy) and an amazing hot pink that is to die for.











A quick chart below gives an overview of the available varieties:

Variety

Stem Length

Bloom size

Notes

Carmel

Shorter, stocky, healthy stems

Larger more impressive blooms, less bloom per plant

Great for pots, triploid variety is stronger and more resilient with healthy vegetation. Slower growing

Shade tolerant

Fullstar

Short stems, thinner stems

Smaller, double blooms with serrated petals. Newer cultivar.

This newer variety still has some kinks to be worked out by breeders

Galilee

Tall stems 18’-24” in full sun

Higher bud count, variety of colors, larger flower

Another triploid variety is stronger and more resilient with healthy vegetation. Resistant to disease. Slower growing

Shade tolerant

Marianne

Tall 20” +

Larger than jerusalem but also many flowers per stem

Higher productivity than Carmel or jerusalem varieties.

Meron

16-18” Mid

Smaller flowers but many, more robust blooms than Jerusalem or Fullstar

Can tolerate more low light and cooler temps, better for growing indoors, recommended for winter forcing

Jerusalem

14”-16” mid. Thicker stems in full sun

Smaller but numerous blooms

Easier to grow and bloom more quickly. Can tolerate more heat, warmer temperatures

Rainbow

18”-22” Tall, thick stems

Large flowers in more variety of colors. Prolific. Rainbow Pastel is especially soft and beautiful

Newest cultivar and best in my opinion

*All varieties are Israeli grown, except Marianne from France.


woman holding anemone flower
Libby holding pastel mix anemone

Galilee Blue Anemone
stem length on Galilee blue anemone

Rainbow Pastel Anemone
Rainbow Pastel Anemone

Whether you grow Ranunculus or Anemone (or both) you will certainly be amazed by their beauty and variety. Every year we get better at growing and harvesting these incredible plants. I hope you learned something small from this post, and don't hesitate to send in some questions about growing. As always, Keep on Blumin'


Photo credit: Mountain Hearts Photography

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