Ranunculus asiaticus, commonly called the Persian buttercup, has large, colorful blooms with thin leaves like crepe paper. These bright, beautiful flowers make a lovely accent for any garden and also make great cut flowers. While Persian buttercups are fairly easy to grow, they do suffer from some environmental problems. The best way to keep your plant healthy is to be aware of the signs and symptoms of pests and diseases so you can deal with any problems before they become a serious issue.
Aphids are small, green insects that infest Ranunculus asiaticus and feast on the sweet sap that flows through the flower stems. While you can remove the aphids by hand, it is easier to make your plants unattractive to them by spraying with a mixture of mild dish soap and water or essential oils. Mix two drops of soap or oil with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients, particularly if you are using essential oils, which will not combine with the water and will need to be shaken in order to remain suspended. Each treatment is safe for your Persian buttercup and makes it taste terrible to aphids.
Root rot symptoms first appear as a general wilting and drooping of the plant even if it is adequately watered. If the root rot is left unchecked, the entire plant will turn brown and soggy and then die, leaving a mushy, potentially contagious mess in your garden. Root rot is a fungus, and as long as its spores are left in the soil it can spread from dead tissue to live tissue, explains Jill Pokorny of the University of Minnesota Extension. Root rot cannot be reversed, so remove infected plants as quickly as possible and change the soil if the plants are potted to prevent the spread of infection. Prevent root rot by using well-drained soil and planting in an area with adequate sunlight and air movement.
Birds love to eat the tender and tasty young Ranunculus asiaticus shoots. Until the plants are 4 to 6 inches high--at which time they become less attractive to birds--cover the plants with wire or netting to protect them, or keep them in flats and plant them once they have reached this height.
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