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June 10, 2017
I was wondering if you could write a bit about anemones and ranunculus. I know the
fall-blooming anemones will grow in Arkansas, but how about the de Caen anemones (Anemone
coronaria) and the Grecian Windflowers (Anemone blanda)? I have never seen these growing
in gardens here, but the catalogs say they are Zones 4-9. Ranunculus bulbs are also
listed as Zones 6-9, but I have not seen them growing in Arkansas either. I would
like to try them, since they are not supposed to be attractive to deer.
Ranunculus bulbs and the Anemone coronaria are usually best treated as annuals in
Arkansas. While they will grow and bloom for a season, they typically will not come
back. I have had a few of the de Caen anemones come back after two years but they
flowered sporadically. The Anemone blanda will naturalize and can come back for years
forming a low growing mat of foliage with white flowers. They are best planted in
a well-drained site with some protection from the hot afternoon sun. I usually buy
a few ranunculus plants in late winter for extra color but when they are through,
I toss them. They do not like the heat of an Arkansas summer.
I received two blooming ranunculus in 4" pots and the little plastic insert in the
pots didn't really say much about the care of the plants, only when to plant and
whether to plant in sun or shade. I did a web search and found only a greeting card
company with photos of the plants. Are they bulbs or annuals? What do I do with
them once the bloom is gone? Any info you may be able to pass along will be greatly
Ranunculus are bulbs, or more correctly tubers, which can be hardy in our zone. They
bloom early in the spring with bright bold colors, with either single or double flowers.
After bloom, let the foliage grow until it dies back, then lift and store the bulbs
until next fall, when they can be planted again. If you leave them in the ground for
the summer dormant months, they often rot, if they get any additional water. They
must have a very well drained soil. Although it is possible to have them for more
than one year, I grow them as annuals and buy blooming plants every year in late winter
for an extra touch of color. I throw them away after they are done.
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