Tips for growing ranunculus

Ranunculus are proper little fusspots to grow.  You can almost hear them whining: I don't like frost, I don't like wet, I don't like mice... 

We like to take them in charge, boss them about a bit, and, within parameters that they'll permit, we grow a nice crop to flower from the end of March through to mid May in our poly tunnel.

The claws are ordered to arrive with the tulips (early November,) and we plant them at about the same time, but not at all in the same way.

First of all we buy some proper expensive compost: well drained, soft, rich - we like Sylvagrow by Melcourt which is a proper cashmere blanket of a compost which we use for most of our seed sowing, and management of any fusspots (like ranunculus!) 

Then we soak our ranunculus claws for a few hours until they fatten up to about twice the size they were when they arrived.

Meanwhile we fill module trays with the smarty pants compost and write our many lables and create mouse-proof staging in our warmer polytunnel (the one where the sides go down in the winter so it's relatively frost proof.)

Then we pop each water-fattened claw into its own module, cover it with a little compost, water the compost well (from underneath - we don't want the whol to become water logged - the ranunculus will rot!) and label each tray. 

We keep the ranunculus in the studio (where they were put into their modules) for one night (because it's too dark by now to take them out and arrange them on their staging in the tunnel,) and the next day they're put out to shoot in the big poly tunnel.  We arrange split plastic cups upside down round the legs of the staging so that the marauding mice can't scamper up and eat all our carefully water-fattened ranunculus claws.

They'll shoot in a week or so (early December) and we'll leave them, barely watering them, to grow on into nice little plants, until mid February.  Then they'll be planted out into a carefully arranged, well fed and watered bed in the tunnel, and they'll flower from the end of March onwards (depending on the warmth of the spring and the amount of sunlight - no sunlight sulky flowers!)  

The skill is to prevent them from freezing, keep the mouse from them, and not overwater them, and then you should get a nice little crop.  And their exquisite tissue paper flowers in spring fill the gap not filled until the roses flower for me in our bouquets.

You can order British grown fresh flower bouquets from us year round and we'll deliver them next day to any door you say.