Growing Ranunculus & Anemones
Ranunculus and anemones have quickly become the darlings of the flower world and for good reason. With some minimal preparation, these beauties will provide your spring garden or vase with some of the most sumptuous, sought after blooms.
- Ranunculus and anemones are shipped in a dry, dormant state. If you are not able to plant them immediately, the corms can be stored dry and at room temperature for several months.
- Your growing zone will dictate when you are able to plant your corms. Growers in warmer climate zones (zone 7 for ranunculus, zone 6 for anemones) will be able to plant them out in the fall. Greenhouse growers will also be able to plant at this time. Growers in cooler growing zones will plant out early spring, approximately 4 to 6 weeks before your last frost date, or as soon as you can work the soil. Spring planted ranunculus and anemones can handle some light frost, but they do need to be hardened off before planting outdoors.
- Prepare the corms by soaking them for 4 hours in room temperature water. The corms will become plump during this process. It is important to maintain oxygen levels in the water. This can be accomplished in one of three ways: frequently changing the water during the soaking process, leaving the water running just a trickle, or with an aquarium air pump.
- Upon completion of soaking, corms can be planted in one of two manners. They can be planted directly into the ground, or they can be pre-sprouted. Pre-sprouting will provide the corms with a bit of a head start and will, therefore, bloom a couple of weeks earlier. Pre-sprouting can be achieved in cell packs or a shallow tray. Add a layer of soil, spread out the corms in a single layer, and then cover Wirth additional soil. You can space the corms quite close during this process, as this is just temporary. Plant ranunculus with their tuberous “fingers” pointing down, and anemones with their pointed end down.
- Store the tray in a cool place, around 10 Celcius/50 Fahrenheit, for two to three weeks. Corms will not germinate at room temperature. They should be kept moist, but not wet. During this time the corms will develop roots and begin to sprout. Corms can now be planted out into the ground at 2-3” deep, and 6-8” apart.
- Select a planting site with full sun and well-draining soil. Thoroughly incorporate a generous 3-4” layer of compost and organic fertilizer into the soil. For the best visual impact, plant corms in groupings. If you're planning to grow for the purpose of cutting, then long, narrow rows are most efficient.
- With a vase life of approximately 10 days, ranunculus and anemones make excellent cut flowers. Ranunculus should be harvested at the “marshmallow stage.” Gently squeezed the flower bud between your fingers. If it feels soft throughout, like a marshmallow, the blossom is ready to harvest. If the bud feels hard in the centre, as if there were a marble in the middle, allow the bud to develop another day or two before harvesting. Anemones can be harvested once the flowers have opened. Both will continue to bloom 4 to 6 weeks in the garden and begin to go dormant once temperatures regularly reach more than 20 degrees Celsius.
- Optional: Ranunculus and anemones are spring flowers, and love a long, cool spring. To extend the show, or in areas with a relatively short spring, mulch the ground around the plants once temperatures begin to warm up. This will help keep the soil cool. Light coloured wood shavings make an excellent mulch for this purpose.