Plant of The Week: Ranunculus
After many years absence I am pleased to again include ranunculus in my catalogue. The popularity of the ranunculus reached its height from the early 1700’s until approximately 1850. Grown by the millions during this period it became a neglected flower, “for the ranunculus demanded care in its cultivation which an industrial age no longer permitted”. Henry Philips wrote in 1829, “The English have raised more varieties of the ranunculus than any peoples”.
The ranunculus exceeds most flowers in the symmetry of its shape and the brilliance and variety of its colour. It follows on from the tulip and provides colour before the summer bedding flowers. It is ideal for the border, containers or as a cut flower, it is long lasting and does not drop its petals.
Cultivation is relatively easy, but there are a few factors that should be born in mind. The ranunculus takes its name from rana (a frog) and requires dampish but well drained soil. Light soil rich in loam is ideal. For heavier soils incorporate some horticultural grit. It should be planted in an open sunny position with some protection from prevailing winds. Make sure they are well watered in dry weather. The ranunculus is not completely hardy and will need some protection against deep frosts.