A ranunculus bulb resembles a bunch of tiny brown dried-out bananas attached at the top by a slightly fuzzy, light-colored flat plate. It's a strange-looking beginning for a beautiful flower. The bulbs are planted in warm climates in the fall during October, November and December and in cold climates in the spring after any threat of frost has passed. They are hardy in USDA zones 8 through 11 and bloom in the late spring and early summer in a rainbow of colors from snow white and palest baby pink to deep coral and scarlet.
Ranunculus Bulb Orientation
Ranunculus bulbs should be planted in rich, well-drained soil 2 to 3 inches deep with the claws or toes facing down into the soil and the white fuzzy plate where all of the claws or toes connect facing upward. Ranunculus bulbs should be planted at approximately 4-inch intervals and massed in groups of ten or more bulbs to produce a substantial display when they bloom. Cover the bulbs with about an inch of soil and then flatten and smooth the soil.
Sun Exposure, Water & Fertilizer
Ranunculus thrive in locations where they can soak up sun for up to three-quarters of the day, with some protection from the harshest afternoon sun of summer. Water the newly planted bulbs well and keep the soil around them uniformly moist, but not wet, for the 10 to 14 days it will take them to begin rooting into the soil. In dry, warm climates you may need to water daily during this period. Fertilize ranunculus with a water soluble fertilizer that is high in nitrogen once a month.