1304 Ranunculus asiaticusCommon Names: Persian buttercup,turban flower,Persian ranunculus Family: Ranunculaceae (buttercup or crowfoot Family)
Persian buttercup is an herbaceous perennial that grows as a rosette of pubescent basal leaves emanating from a tuberous and fibrous root system. Including the upright flower stalks, the plant gets about a foot (30 cm) tall with a spread a little less than that. The leaves, 4-6 in (10-15 cm) long and borne on long petioles, are rounded overall, and have three deeply cut lobes which are further subdivided and serrated on the edges. Upright flowering stems, which may be branched, carry one to several cup shaped white, yellow, pink, or red flowers, 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) across. The showy flowers have five petals and dark purple centers with numerous stamens.
There have been more than 400 named cultivars, many of which seem no longer available. Most have double flowers. Several modern seed races are available: The ‘Bloomingdale’ hybrids are a series of dwarf plants, just 8-10 in (20-25 cm) tall, with double pink, red, yellow, red, or white flowers that are around 4 in (10 cm) across. The ‘Victoria’ hybrids are larger, also with double flowers in a variety of colors. The ‘Tecolote’ hybrids are even larger with even larger flowers.
Ranunculus asiaticus is native to the Mediterranean region of SE Europe, SW Asia and NE Africa.
Light: Grow buttercups in bright light or full sun. During the hottest times of the year, they should get some afternoon shade. Moisture: Persian buttercup requires a dry summertime dormant period after flowering. Water well during the active season, then withhold water. Excellent drainage is necessary, and many growers use raised beds to guard against root rot. Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 10 . Persian buttercup can be grown in cooler zones, but the tubers must be lifted in the fall and stored indoors. They do not tolerate freezing temperatures. Propagation: The best way to propagate these perennials is by division of the tuberous roots. Soak the corms for a while in water, then plant 2 in (5 cm) deep with the “claws” pointing downward. Sow fresh seed as soon as ripe in autumn . Germination can take up to two weeks. Plant out in garden after danger of frost has passed.
The large brightly colored camellia-like flowers of Persian buttercup light up springtime beds and borders. Persian buttercups grown outside are usually lifted when leaves start to yellow, and the tubers then stored in a cool, dry place until the following spring. The ‘Bloomingdale’ hybrids are well suited to container cultivation. The ‘Tecolote’ hybrids are taller and well suited for cutting. Many gardeners grow these beauties as annuals. Remove spent flowers promptly.
Persian buttercup was once widely used by florists, but has fallen out of favor lately. Newer varieties and hybrids may spell a renaissance.
There are at least 250 species of buttercups, occurring in temperate climates throughout the world. Only a small handful are regularly cultivated.
Steve Christman 3/1/18