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How to Plant Buttercups

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buttercups image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com

Tip

Because buttercups prefer cool soil, spread mulch around the mature plants in early spring.

Propagate (make more) buttercups by dividing them and replanting in early spring or autumn.

Warning

Buttercups are very poisonous to horses. Every part of the plants are toxic, especially to horses but also to most mammals. When dried, however, they lose almost all of their toxins.

Buttercups are flowering plants that belong to the Ranunculus family. Among the dozens of buttercup species, a few are cultivated garden species, but most are wildflowers. They’re called buttercups because of the flowers’ buttery yellow color and upward-curving cup shape.

Buttercups can grow up to 3 feet tall and have soft, fernlike leaves. They tend to bloom in their first year after planting and are remarkably resistant to pests and diseases. Choose buttercup bulbs from a reputable source to ensure the best quality.

Prepare a garden. Do this in autumn for spring-flowering buttercups. Choose a sunny spot with good soil drainage. Remove weeds--roots and all--from the planting area. Till or otherwise work the soil to clear rocks, break up soil clumps and increase healthy drainage.

Dig a 6-inch-deep furrow in the well-tilled soil. Use a hoe, shovel or spade.

Back-fill the furrow, leaving a 3-inch deep planting row.

Plant buttercup bulbs. Place the bulbs, roots down, into the planting row, about 6 to 8 inches apart. Gently cover the bulbs completely with fresh, loose soil. Try not to step on the row you planted, and don’t pack down the soil.

Dust a dry fertilizer lightly over the garden soil in spring. Do this when shoots pop through the soil. Water thoroughly to complete the fertilization process.

Remove spent flowers when they finish blooming. When foliage turns completely brown, cut it off at ground level. The buttercups bloom again the next year.

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