Buttercup care

Buttercups are plants with tuberous roots, commonly called bulbs, which are very popular with flower and garden enthusiasts. Also commonly called French, marimoñas or marimonias , this genus of plants actually has more than 400 species, although in gardening the most common of them is Ranunculus asiaticus . They are native to Asia and the eastern Mediterranean and spread to the rest of Europe when the Crusaders brought them from the Eighth Crusade.

If you want to learn more about Ranunculus, join us in this article where you will see a practical and complete guide on the care of buttercups .

Buttercups or ranunculus: characteristics

These are the main characteristics of buttercups :

  • Scientific name: Ranunculus asiaticus.
  • They are outdoor plants.
  • They bloom throughout the spring and part of the summer. 
  • Temperate climate.
  • They usually reach heights of up to 20 cm.
  • Its flowers are of a great variety of colors. For example, white buttercups, orange buttercups, pink buttercups, red ranunculus, and yellow ranunculus are highly sought after.
  • Its bulbous tubers are called claws or spiders.
  • They are poisonous if ingested.

These plants, which are very similar to peonies or even roses , with which they are often confused, are so popular and have been so hybridized that there are currently a huge number of varieties created by man, with different colors and characteristics. .

Buttercup care - Buttercups or ranunculus: characteristics

Climate and location for buttercups

As mentioned above, buttercups do best in temperate climates . They can tolerate temperatures down to -10 ºC from time to time, but it is advisable not to plant them in climates that usually drop or for long periods below 0 ºC. Very low temperatures will slow down the plant for the ranunculus flower to come out.

Excessive heat does not suit them either and, with temperatures above 18ºC, the plant will have problems surviving, especially if it is exposed to the sun. For this reason, it is not a suitable plant for hot or tropical climates, since it needs its cold periods to develop well.

Regarding their location, these plants, normally used outdoors, should be placed in the sun if we live in a cold climate or in a semi-shady location if the climate is temperate .

Substrate or soil for buttercups

This plant needs loose and aerated soils that offer very good drainage and are rich in organic matter. You can use specific compost for roses or prepare a mixture yourself with a part of peat, another of worm castings and a last of coconut fiber , which ensure a light and nutritious substrate. Add perlite and vermiculite to improve its drainage and water retention properties.

Irrigation and compost

Watering is very important when it comes to buttercup care. In the warm months they need the substrate to maintain a certain level of humidity at all times . Of course, we must avoid, as always, waterlogging at all costs. Anewing the soil can lead to rotting of the bulb and, therefore, the death of the plant.

Marimoñas or Francesillas appreciate a contribution of fertilizer every three weeks after the second month of sprouting. You can use universal fertilizer for flowering plants, or organic and ecological fertilizer, such as compost or worm castings , the latter very complete. 

Buttercup Care - Watering and Fertilizing

How to plant ranunculus

The bulbs of buttercups , as we have said also called claw or spiders because of their particular shape, are readily available during the season buttercups , which is in autumn for most climates. This is how ranunculus are planted :

  1. Bury the claws between 5 and 10 cm deep depending on the size of each one, placing the larger ones more deeply. Pay attention to placing the lightest part up, which will be where it sprouts, and leave about 12 cm of distance between the bulbs.
  2. After planting, it will be necessary to water more abundantly during the first week, although it is also usual to immerse the claws in water for 24 hours before planting them so that they reach the soil or substrate hydrated.
  3. Therefore, when deciding when to plant buttercups , we will almost always do it before the arrival of winter, although outdoors and in cold climates it is better to wait until the end of January or February.
  4. When the plants begin to sprout with the arrival of spring or even earlier, each bulb will emit several stems, which we can cut to leave 4 or 5, thus enhancing the flowers that remain on them.
  5. When the stems dry, it is preferable to cut them and let the bulb spend the winter buried, so that it sprouts again the following season.
Buttercup Care - How To Plant Ranunculus

How to store marimonias or ranunculus plant bulbs

Now that you know how to sow ranunculus from its bulbs, as well as its care, we only need to talk about the conservation of its bulbs so that they can continue to grow in the coming seasons.

In especially cold or very humid climates, it is preferable to remove the claws from the ground to prevent excess water from rotting them. To remove and preserve buttercup bulbs, follow these steps:

  1. You should not remove the claw or bulb until the aerial part of the plant has completely died.
  2. Wash it well to remove the remains of soil and clean it with a bulb sterilizer to avoid disease or fungi. You can find it in specialized gardening stores.
  3. Let them dry between 48 and 72 hours in a ventilated place without light.
  4. Store them in paper bags.
  5. Store them in a dry, cool, dark place until it is time to replant them again.

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