RANUNCULUS

P. The Double Turban or Turkish ranunculus is the most popular type but there are other strains and species which should be grown more widely by amateurs . The Double Turban ranunculi grow to about 9 in.; they are excellent for cutting, the self colours embracing yellow, orange, scarlet, rose etc. The flowers are rose-shaped and perfectly formed. The Giant French is a strain with individual blooms about 4 in. across. They are semi-double and again in a wide colour range. The claw-like roots should be planted about 2 in. deep and 4 in. apart (claws downwards). They dislike cold winds and wet soil and a warm, southerly position is advisable. Plant the Double Turban strain from November to March (the earlier the better) — on heavy land early spring planting is preferable. The Giant French are rather less hardy and are best planted at the end of February or in early March. Both strains flower in May and June. Mulch with hop manure or damp peat if drought arises. On most soils, lift in August, store in paper bags in a sunny outhouse or in the greenhouse and re-plant in early spring. Increase by division at the same time.

Among the species, Ranunculus calandrinoides is a rare winter-flowering plant from the Atlas Mountains. It bears large, pale rose to white flowers balanced by the glaucous leaves. It demands a hot, very dry corner with perfect drainage and can be increased by division in early spring. Height, 4 in. R. montanus (geranifolius) has large yellow, buttercup-like flowers on 4 in. stems in spring. R. pyrenacus is white to about 8 in., flowering in spring. These species are increased by division after flowering. R. acris Flore pleno is the yellow bachelor’s buttons. It is a double-flowered form of the common buttercup and is useful for cutting. Height 18 in. R. aconitifolius Flore pleno or Fair Maids of France has sprays of small, white, double flowers and is taller, to about 2 ½ ft. Both bloom in early summer, prefer a cool soil which docs not dry out too readily and are increased by division in early spring.

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