Ranunculus can be planted out as bulbs or as plug plants in the autumn. The name derives from range, which is the Latin for ‘frog’ – possibly because Ranunculus grow in cool and moist conditions, companions for frogs. The foliage is also delicate and abundant.
Moist, fairly friable soil in a cool shady border is ideal for planting bulbs or plug plants – plants can also be grown on in a pot kept in a cold frame over the winter. Bulbs and plants grown from seed need to be grown in a location where the soil won’t freeze. The soil pH is not a crucial factor. A concentrated ranunculus bed can look spectacular – or in a mixed bed, they will complement other coloured perennials and also bog garden plants.
The flowers are prized as florists’ flowers for their intense colours, display longevity and beautiful, pure shapes. Cut flowers when they have fully formed but have not yet opened. After they have flowered and the petals have fallen, the seed head will mature and dry out. You can harvest the seeds by shaking or rubbing the pod. Sow the seeds in trays in the autumn.