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Ranunculus - Buttercup

Buttercup plant

When you buy a buttercup plant you will receive pretty, bowl-shaped flowers, which can be found in meadows and are usually well known to the home gardener.

   
 
Ranunculus acris 'Multiplex'

Common buttercup

From £4.90 *

Ranunculus flammula

Lesser spearwort

From £4.40 *

Ranunculus lingua

Greater spearwort

From £4.40 *

   
 

More useful information about Ranunculus - Buttercup

There are many representatives of the genus Ranunculus that are suitable for gardening and are planted as perennials. Whether in open spaces in natural areas or at the edge of a pond, a buttercup plant is versatile, provided that it finds fresh to moist soil and receives a sufficient amount of sun. As a rule, it is absolutely easy to care for and will survive even cold winters without complaint.

It does not necessarily have to be simple flowers - even pompon-like ones can be found. The double buttercup plant 'Multiplex' is, therefore, a particularly attractive variation of the native meadow plant. Its golden yellow flowers, which are strongly reminiscent of annual types, decorate all kinds of beds. A great look is achieved when it is planted in small groups. It is also very decorative as a cut flower.

Buy Buttercups for a Natural Garden or Near Water

Many representatives can be used as land, swamp and water plants. An iris or calamus are beautiful planting partners in pond areas. These species are best suited for a border design of garden ponds:

  • Ranunculus flammula, also a native wild shrub, is an enchanting companion for near ponds or other water areas. With its upright silhouette, it reaches a height of about 50 centimetres. R. flammula is a beautiful continuous flowering plant, which in summer is adorned with countless, yellow flowers. The species can be planted up to a water depth of 10 centimetres. Interestingly, its growth form depends on the water level: there is a land form, a swimming form and an underwater form. Wetlands, which are sometimes flooded, provide ideal conditions for this plant. This variety does not develop runners.
  • Ranunculus lingua can grow to a height of one metre and has larger flowers than R. flammula. This plant is best kept in a swamp area but also grows in water up to 30 centimetres deep. You should know that R. lingua is a fast-growing species with a high nutrient requirement. It is very suitable for reduction purposes and can prevent the emergence of algal bloom. Since the buttercup plant spreads rapidly over long rhizomes, it is only recommended for larger ponds - planting baskets are generally advantageous. This variety is evergreen.

Interesting Facts

The genus Ranunculus belongs to the large family of buttercups.

Ranunculus means 'little frog' in Late Latin. The reason is not quite clear. Many species can be found in humid locations (with frogs); the tadpole-shaped fruits could also have determined the name. The perennials are named Crowfoot because of their unusual leaf shape, which is actually reminiscent of an animal's foot due to its five to seven-fold division (exception: the tongue-leaved crowfoot buttercup has narrow, lancet-shaped leaves).

In Central Europe, R. lingua and R. flammula can be found in the reed zone of standing waters, also in shallow marshlands and swamps. In Central Europe, the buttercup is very common and can be found mainly in rich meadows.

Location and Soil

The location should be sunny to semi-shady. Ranunculus acris prefers nutrient- and nitrogen-rich clay soils, which should be moist but not necessarily wet. The R. lingua and R. flammula types like a nutrient-rich, humus-rich, loamy soil, which can also be underwater. Ranunculus flammula is calciferous - the pH value of the soil should be below 7.

Planting

Plants for more humid locations should not be planted too late in the year (until September). This way they can still take root well. If planted very late in the year, they may fail in the winter.

  • To ensure that the individual specimens develop optimally, you should keep a distance of 45 centimetres between 'Mulitplex'. There are about six plants per square metre.
  • Plant the Tongue variety in small groups of about five to seven plants per square metre. A planting basket is advisable, as this will help you control the spread of the buttercup plants.
  • R. flammula can grow about 10 plants per square metre, a planting distance of about 30 centimetres is advisable.

Care

The soil should never dry out - so water well. Mulching around the plants keeps the soil in the bed moist longer and ensures a good supply of nutrients. In the spring, use a slow release fertiliser in addition.

As the buttercup can have a tendency to proliferate, it is advisable to cut back the plant in the winter. Ranunculus flammula, on the other hand, does not form runners and therefore does not need to be thinned out.

Propagation

As a garden pond type, buttercup plants can be propagated with the help of seeds or by division. The ripe seeds are sown in autumn (it is a cold germinator). Then they germinate the following spring with the rising soil and air temperatures.

Also for the vitality of the plants, you can divide them every 2-3 years. Remove any weak roots and shoots.

Attention: A Buttercup Plant is Poisonous

Always make sure to wear sturdy gardening gloves when handling buttercup plants, as some parts are poisonous. All species contain the poisonous protoanemonin. In case of skin contact, the plant sap can lead to skin rash, itching and redness. If it reaches the inner mucous membranes, cramp-like vomiting and even paralysis can occur.

Ranunculus flammula has the highest concentration of all native species.

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