Buttercup Flower (Ranunculus) | How to Grow and Care?

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Buttercup flowers belonging to the Ranunculus genus are frost tender and half-hardy perennials. These five-petaled flowers are found in the woods and fields of the north temperate zone. Places where you can find them in plenty, are Asia, Central America, North America, Australia, and Europe.

The flowers are loosely clustered and have at least five yellow or white thin wax-coated petals. Buttercups can be planted outdoors, like wildflowers, as well as indoors.

It is their dainty appeal that makes them preferred for home decorations and weddings.

This article will introduce the buttercup flowers and the tips to grow and care for them. But before we begin, let us focus on their origin and essential characteristics.

Name Origin & Uses


Although these flowers got their name from their appearance, there is another interesting story behind their origin. According to folklore, if you hold the Ranunculus flower under your chin and it turns yellow, it means you like butter.

Apart from their original name, these flowers are also called “coyote’s eyes” in different parts of the US.

Medicinal Uses

Although there are scanty scientific facts about their medicinal values, people use these flowers for arthritis, skin problems, nerve pains, inflammation, etc.

Essential Facts about Buttercup Flowers

Essential facts about Buttercup Flowers
Image Credit: Yellow Buttercups from Pxhere
Native toEurasia, USA
PoisonousYes (medium)
Bloom timeEarly spring to summer


Buttercup Flower (Ranunculus) belongs to the Ranunculus genus, which has over 400 species of flowers. These flowers grow in different shapes, sizes, colours with an average height of 2 feet. Nonetheless, there are some other varieties as well that can grow as tall as 10 inches.

So, let us explore some of the most popular varieties of buttercups that you can include in your bucket list.

#1. Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus Bulbosus)

Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus)
Image Credit: Bulbous Buttercup by AnemoneProjectors (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Also known as St. Anthony’s turnip, these flowers are larger and have rounder bases. Bulbous buttercups can grow up to 16 inches tall and produce bright yellow five-petaled flowers. You can find these flowers in the pastures and meadows of Scotland and England, and they evoke the images of the old countryside days. That being said, you can grow them in dry and sandy areas, but they prefer more grassy and rich soil.

#2. Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus Acris)

Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus Acris)
Image Credit: Meadow Buttercup from Pixabay

Due to their height, up to 3 feet, meadow buttercups are also known as tall buttercups. Ranunculus Acris is characterized by deeply cut and toothed basal leaves and colorful blossoms spreading over 1 inch wide. They are often found in forest clearings and damn meadows across the US.

#3. Early Buttercup (Ranunculus Fascicularis)

Early Buttercup (Ranunculus Fascicularis)
Image Credit: Early Buttercup by Joshua Mayer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Early buttercups are also known as Tufted Buttercups and are mostly found throughout North American prairies and woods. These plants are characterized by bright yellow flowers with long and thin petals, hairy stems, and compound basal leaves. They grow up to 1 foot in height, which makes them ideal to be planted for flowerbeds.

#4. Aconite Leaf Buttercup (Ranunculus Aconitifolius)

Aconite Leaf Buttercup (Ranunculus Aconitifolius)
Image Credit: Aconite Leaf Buttercup from Pxfuel

Aconite Leaf Buttercup, or bachelor’s buttons, is native to Central Europe. They grow up to a height of two feet and can spread nearly as wide. With these plants, you will get snow-white flowers instead of bright yellow blooms.

#5. California Buttercup (Ranunculus Californicus)

California Buttercup (Ranunculus Californicus)
Image Credit: California Buttercup by Tom Hilton (CC BY 2.0)

As its name suggests, California Buttercup are found across California and in some parts of Oregon. The striking feature of this plant is its 9-7 petaled lemon-yellow flowers, which is much opposite to traditional 5-petaled buttercups.

You can use Ranunculus californicus as border plants in your garden.

#6. Persian Buttercup (Ranunculus Asiaticus)

Persian Buttercup (Ranunculus Asiaticus)
Image Credit: Persian Buttercup from Pixabay

One of the most popular varieties, Persian Buttercups, boasts brightly colored flowers with many layers of crepe paper-thin petals. These flowers are native to the eastern Mediterranian regions, southwestern Europe, and northeastern Africa. Their appearance of globe-like peonies makes them favorite cut flowers for events and bouquets.

Growing Buttercup Flowers

When to grow?

Timing plays a crucial role in growing healthy buttercup flowers. But if you are a novice, it may be a question about ensuring when to plant or grow these flowers?

Don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered!

The best time to plant buttercups depends on the zone where you live. These flowers are annual and bloom in Spring and Summer. So, if you live in zones 4-7, you should plant them in spring to get flowers during the summer.

But, if your zone is 8-11, the most preferred time to grow them is in fall to get blooms during spring. Also, you should remember that in zones 8-11, buttercups are winter hardy, which means they can withstand the cold climate and remain healthy.

Growing Conditions

Next comes the conditions most suitable to grow your buttercup plants.

These plants prefer full sun as well as partial shades. So, you can plant them in your garden or backyard, as well as indoors in pots.


Buttercups can be grown from seeds, roots, tubers, and rhizomes. And depending on which part you are using, there are a few steps that should be followed.

  • Soil

The foremost thing to be prepared is the soil. More than anything else, these plants need light, well-drained, calm, and grassy soil. Yet, sandy and dry areas can also grow these plants.

  • Variety

The next thing to consider is the variety or type of buttercup(s) you plan to grow. Again, you can choose your favorite type depending upon your location and preference.

  • The part of growing

Most of your preparation would depend on which part of the plant you are planting. You can choose the fibrous roots, seeds, tubers, or rhizomes, as per your preference.

  • Site clearance

Clearing the site of the buttercup plantation is necessary. So, before you prepare the soil, you remove any debris, fallen leaves, or weeds from the area.

To Grow from Roots or Seeds?

Now let us focus on which part to grow your plant from? You have two of the most popular options- growing from seeds and roots.

Here, we will give you tips on both ways of growing, and you can choose your preferred way.

From the Roots

Growing buttercups from roots are one of the easiest and most preferred methods. This method is less tedious as well as time-saving. And you buy the fibrous roots from the nearby nursery and grow these plants indoors as well.

  • Dig a hole of at least 2 inches deep.
  • The width of the hole should be as wide as the bulb.
  • With roots pointing downwards, place the bulb in the hole.
  • Sprinkle some loose soil to cover the bulb and then cover the entire hole with soil.
  • If planting outdoors, choose to plant each bulb at a distance of 12 inches from each other.
  • Do not forget to water the plants generously.

From seeds

From seeds
Image Credit: Buttercup seeds from Wildseed

Growing buttercup plants from seeds can be a stricter process and should be avoided if you are a novice.

  • Germinate the seeds at 15-27 degrees Centigrade, at day time, and at about 4 degrees Centigrade during the night.
  • Cover the seeds with soil, but take care not to suffocate them.
  • Cover the seeds with a plastic sheet.
  • Next, you should refrigerate the seeds while occasionally watering them lightly.
  • Around the 4th week of refrigeration, remove the seeds and place them in a glass container.
  • Keep the glass container in a shady area.
  • Once seedlings start to appear, transfer the seeds to your preferred location for the final plantation.

Tips for Growing Buttercup Flower Indoors

Tips for growing Buttercup Flower indoors
Image Credit: Buttercup flowers indoors from Piqsels

Buttercup flowers can be grown indoors in pots or containers. However, indoor buttercups are grown best in Zone 7 or colder.

To grow these plants indoors, make sure to maintain a temperature from mid to high. You can use tubers to grow your plant.

  • For better growth of the plants, you can use 3-inch pots per tuber.
  • You can also plant several tubers in a larger pot.
  • Prepare the soil and put a layer of it at the bottom of the pot.
  • Place the tuber with the roots downwards.
  • Place the pot at a spot where it will receive at least 58 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Do not place the pot directly sun bright sun, as these flowers like a cool climatic condition.
  • Keep the soil of the pot moist but not soggy.
  • Do not keep them near the draft or heat source.
  • Use water-soluble fertilizers to feed them once a week.
  • Remove the dead blooms.

Bonus Read: 15 Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots or Containers

Caring for Buttercup Flower

So, by now, you have explored the ways buttercups can be grown. These flowers are fuss-free, and you don’t need to spend hours tending them. However, this should not encourage you to avoid caring for these plants.

Refer to the following tips, and you can master the process quite easily.


Watering is an essential part of tending these plants. Moist and humid soil is critical for buttercups to grow and produce flowers. So, ensure that you water them regularly and prevent the soil from going completely dry. However, you must not clog the soil and make sure that the water drains properly.


Grassy solid is suitable for these plants. You can use a good quality soil mix to ensure better plant growth. As we said, well-drained soil is needed for buttercup plants, so if your garden does not have well-drained soil, you can create raised beds. It can be done by amending the original soil with organic matter or soil mix.

You can also plant the tubers in a pot and use sandy or loamy soil amended with peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite.


Bright light is suitable for your plants. However, it is suggested to avoid direct sunlight.

Temperature & Humidity

Buttercups grow best in the cooler climate and go dormant during the summer months. So, the most suitable temperature for them should be below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, very high humidity can rot the roots, killing the plants.


Fertilizing your plants with slow-release water-soluble fertilizers is crucial. It is the fertilizer that helps the production of gorgeous-looking buttercup flowers.

Use coarse or foliar fertilizer spray if you are growing your plants in a pot or container.


Since your plant needs a cool temperature, mulching can help you keep the soil cool and reduce water loss. This process is essential if you live in a hot climatic zone. Mulching can be done by using cocoa hulls or barks.

Extra Caring Tips

Cut the Dead Blooms

To make sure that your plant keeps producing fresh blooms, you must cut the old flowers once they fade. Just clip them below the flower head, and you will get fresh produce, and that too for a prolonged time.

Stop Watering

You should stop watering once the blooming season has passed, during the late spring. Now, your plant will stop flowering, and the leaves will turn pale to yellow.

Also Read: 20 Amazing Backyard Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank


Once the blooming period is over, you can prune your buttercups and make them as houseplants. Also, trim the foliage to give your plant the preferred shape and size. Occasional trimming will encourage the growth of side shoots, making them look attractive.

Also, this process will prevent these plants from growing extensively, and you will not need to transfer them to a larger pot.

Common Pests and Diseases

Although buttercup flowers are low-maintenance plants, they may attract insects and pests.

One of the most common pests to bother these plants are aphids. These tiny insects feed on Ranunculus’s sap, discoloring the leaves and making them fragile.

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease, which affects the Ranunculus flowers. As the name suggests, this disease causes rounded, powdery spots on older leaves, which spread to other leaves and the full steam.


Q1. Are Ranunculus flowers poisonous?

Ans. Ranunculus species of flowers are toxic when eaten fresh. They can be poisonous to pets as well people. Buttercups have an acrid taste and cause blisters and sores in the mouth.

Q2. Should I apply fertilizers directly to the leaves?

Ans. No, the direct application of fertilizers to the leaves and stems can kill the plants. It is always advisable to moisten the soil and apply fertilizers to it for better absorption.

Q3. How long do buttercups last?

Ans. If grown and taken care of properly, buttercup plants can last for as long as 16 years in your garden soil.

Q4. Why are my buttercups dying?

Ans. Your buttercups are dying maybe because their roots are rotting. Also, if the soil lacks nitrogen or your plant gets powdery mildew, it may start decaying.

Q5. How long can I expect my Ranunculus flowers to last?

Ans. You can expect your flowers to last six to seven weeks if cared for effectively.


Buttercup flowers (Ranunculus) are a species of fuss-free plants that can make your garden look brighter and ornamental. These flowers come in different varieties and can be grown as a border, bedding, and container plant.

Because of their low maintenance and dainty appeal, they are mostly chosen perennials to be grown home and commercial gardens. So, what are you waiting for? Go to your nearby store or nursery, buy buttercup tapers and start growing your plants today!

For any help, you can come back and refer to our site.

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