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What is a Persian Buttercup?

By Meagan Michi
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Persian buttercup originated in the area that is today Iran, as well as in other countries in the Mediterranean such as Greece and Turkey. Its scientific name is Ranunculus asiaticus, and it is commonly referred to simply as Ranunculus. The Persian buttercup is a truly lovely flower that resembles a rose with delicate, crepe-like petals. Other varietals have only five petals with a black center; this type is somewhat reminiscent of a poppy. The color range is substantial, including yellow, red, orange, pink and white, for example.

The overall appeal of a Persian buttercup is likely because of the stark contrast between the long, slender stem that is devoid of leaves and the incredibly full bloom. Leaves exist around the base of the stem and are basal. Persian buttercups are proficient in the garden and do well as ornamental plants in rock gardens, borders, beds and pots. They also make lasting cut flowers that will bloom after having been cut even while still in bud. The average height of a Persian buttercup is between 18 inches (45.72 cm) and 24 inches (60.96 cm).

A Persian buttercup is a tuber, which is similar to a bulb like a tulip or a daffodil. These flowers are hardy in areas with warmer climates but can be planted in other areas after the threat of the last frost has passed in the spring. Alternatively, Persian buttercups can be planted in the autumn in areas where seasonal temperatures remain above freezing. Temperatures that consistently fall below 28 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-2 degrees Celsius) will injure the tubers and cause them not to bloom again the next season.

The tubers should be planted at a depth of 5 inches (12.7 cm), approximately 4 inches (10.16 cm) apart. Persian buttercups prefer sandy, loose soil in a location that receives full sun. Before planting, is helpful for the Persian buttercup tubers to be soaked in water. Tubers should be planted with their points facing down, because this is the point from which the roots emerge. Ranunculus can be forced indoors and then planted outside when the weather is appropriate.

Persian buttercups will bloom more proficiently if cut, whether as cut flowers or after blooming is complete. In areas where the Persian buttercup is hardy, foliage should be left in place until it turns yellow and dies back. This will help ensure that next year’s growth is strong. Persian buttercups should be watered regularly throughout all cycles of active growth, but not during dormancy.

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