You can learn how to plant ranunculus seeds in just two steps. While you can use their tubers for propagation, it will be beneficial to know how to sow ranunculus seeds. Those who live in the southeast area of the UK should grow these plants without any issues.
However, you can start ranunculus seeds in the greenhouse. Remember that starting plants from seeds is trickier than other techniques because fluctuating conditions can affect their germination. More so, don’t forget that the ranunculus itself is poisonous, so practice precaution in handling the plants.
Comprehensive Guide On How To Plant Ranunculus Seeds
Step #1. Sowing and germination
You can use a polytunnel to start ranunculus seeds to guarantee germination. Gardeners in the UK often sow the seeds in September because the conditions around this time are ideal for their sprouting. A typical starter pot with moist compost would work well for ranunculus seeds, but do note that you don’t have to cover the seeds with soil.
The advantage of using a polytunnel with starting ranunculus seeds is that you can provide the light to encourage growth but not put them in the dangers of direct sunlight. You can use fluorescent lights above the seedlings and adjust their distance from the plants as they grow. And besides light, don’t forget to maintain the medium’s moisture and keep the polytunnel around 50°F.
More so, you want to sow a large number of ranunculus seeds because they have a low germination rate after a month. Sprinkle a thin layer of seeds over the seed starting mix and water the container until it drains. This watering method is ideal until the plants are around 3 inches high, and you can also cover the container to help conserve moisture better.
Step #2. Maintenance
Maintaining the polytunnel will also guarantee that you’ll grow vigorous ranunculus plants for transplanting outdoors later on. Since these plants prefer cooler temperatures, you want the polytunnel to be around 70°F and colder at night. It’s also best to thin the plants so that one plant remains in each pot.
You can expect the plants to reach an ideal height for transplanting after three weeks. You can transplant ranunculus seedlings in bigger containers when they have grown at least six leaves. Gardeners in the UK often replant the plants in spring outdoors, but you must wait for the danger of frost to pass before doing so.
In general, ranunculus is best under partial shade and won’t do well from drafts. It’s not worrisome to leave them in direct sunlight, and you can plant them in light and fertile soil. However, you want to ensure that the ground has good drainage to prevent rot, so amend the soil before planting if necessary.
Hardening and transplanting
Before transplanting ranunculus, it’s crucial to harden them first and adjust their exposure to the outdoors gently. You still want to protect them when the temperatures get very cold. Then, allocate a space of 8 inches between each plant and water them regularly.
You can also feed the plants with a water-soluble fertiliser each week to further encourage establishment. After these general practices, you can use organic mulch to keep their roots cool and prevent rot. Repeat mulching in late autumn for winter to protect the plants from the freezing temperatures.
Planting Ranunculus Tubers
As mentioned earlier, the more common method of propagating and starting ranunculus plants is from tubers. Much like with seeds, you can also grow ranunculus tubers in the polytunnel or the UK garden as long as there is no risk of frost and the weather is warm. You also want to prepare the tubers by soaking them in cold water before planting them.
More so, it’s worth noting that you want to secure a permanent location for the tubers because they tend to not do well with transplanting. If you have a challenging place, it’s advisable to grow in the greenhouse. Space the tubers at 6 inches and plant 3 inches deep, and they should grow within two to three months.
In general, ranunculus is easy to care for. Perhaps the biggest challenge that you may face is root rot, but this is avoidable with diligence in watering and maintaining a stable growing environment. It would be best to keep the plants hydrated at controlled humidity, and root rot shouldn’t be a problem.
Every two weeks, you can also amend the soil with potassium fertiliser during the blooming period. The fertiliser will help you achieve healthy blooms and keep the ranunculus plants healthy. You can also spray with insecticide in the summer as spider mites, aphids, and thrips, tend to attack ranunculus plants under these conditions.
While the more liked method of propagating ranunculus is from tubers, you might also get interested in sowing them. Knowing how to plant ranunculus seeds can be a helpful skill, and it’s not something to be intimidated by. You can take advantage of the polytunnel and start indoors until you have vigorous young plants for transplanting.
Growing ranunculus from seeds is relatively straightforward, and you can simplify it into two steps, which are sowing and maintaining the seeds indoors until you can transplant them. There are no specific growing requirements for ranunculus, but they’ll benefit from moist mix and light exposure.