Ranunculi asiaticus or Persian buttercups produce exquisite, usually fully double flowers on thin strong stems. Shorter than the Aviv varieties, these compact dwarf bulbs often grown for their cut flowers are perfect for the front of the garden border. Try mixing with alchemillas, anemones, lavenders, scabiosas or tulbaghias. Alternatively, mix with single forms in containers. Bear in mind that the more you cut, the more they will flower!
Pre-soak tubers in tepid water for 1 to 3 hours before planting clawside facing down around 15 cm deep and approximatively 10 cm apart in fertile, moist, well-drained soil in full sun — allowing for around 50 to 75 tubers per square meter. Feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed; if you garden organically, liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source. After flowering, leave the foliage to die back naturally. In cooler areas, provide frost protection with a good layer of organic matter.
Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant. Take care! Ranunculi can be harmful to cats, dogs and horses. Keep away from paddocks.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Aphids:these sap-eating insects can weaken plants and spread viruses. Whenever possible, pick off by hand using gloves.
Snails and slugs:these pests enjoy munching on young shoots, stems, leaves and flowers. Watch out for damage!
Powdery mildews:these fungal diseases usually caused by planting in the shade or by poor air circulation can be seen in the form of white, powdery coating on the leaves. Cut off any infected material before disinfecting your scissors.