Ranunculus part II, all about the flower
Updated: Jan 4
In part I of our ranunculus posts, I shared our personal journey to becoming a farmer-florist operation, which was in very large part sparked by my first interaction with the ranunculus flower. To read that story, visit part I.
Here I want to tell you a little bit more about ranunculus - how we grow and harvest it, how long you can expect to enjoy it in the vase, and more.
Funny enough, this delicate bloom starts out as this octopus-like corm (similar to a bulb, the corm is the planting stock from which the flower grows).
We plant these corms in the ground in mid to late February in our unheated hoop house, which makes them the first plants of the year to go into the ground. They can withstand pretty cold temps but we do pray it doesn't dip below 25 degrees, otherwise they could freeze, rot and become nonviable.
Between late May and early June, we begin to see our first ranunculus starting to bloom. Much like the peony, the ranunculus buds in this ball form, and is ready to harvest once it reaches the "marshmallow stage", meaning just that the ball is no longer hard, but soft and giving when you give it a light squeeze (like a marshmallow!), and is about to start unfurling its petals.
We lament a bit that the ranunculus season is so short - only lasting about 4 weeks - while also conceding that the seasonality of it is what makes it so extra special. They also store in our floral cooler for at least 2 weeks, sometimes even more, so we are able to extend the season ever so slightly with proper storage.
One of the wonderful things about ranunculus is how long they last in the vase - as a flower farmer and floral designer, this is always a chief concern for me! With proper care, the ranunculus can last up to 12 days in the vase, making it one of the longest lasting flowers we grow. So for all its ephemerality in the field, it does make a splash for some time once it's cut and being enjoyed in your home.
Ranunculus come in a variety of colors, and we are currently growing pink, orange, gold and white porcelaine ranunculus in addition to a cafe ranunculus, which is gold with red streaks and a dark center. I am absolutely infatuated by this unique beauty, though its so different from the more peony-esque variety pictured above.
They all make such a splash in arrangements, too. They can add whimsy and a bit of eccentricity to an arrangement, or a soft, romantic feel to your design.
We are so excited to be sharing these beauties with you in a special bouquet CSA share this year! This 4-week share will feature the ranunculus prominently in each week's bouquet, in addition to some other Spring flowers. Learn more and sign up here!