The ranunculus always draws a crowd at our unit at Blackfriars. Bright colours are always a crowd pleaser, especially for a flower vending machine that needs to grab your attention through a window. So, in honour of one of our most popular stems, we wanted to share a few ranunculus facts and tips as part of our ongoing flower facts series.

  1. Commonly known as the “buttercup”, the ranunculus is a large genus that contains over 600 varieties.
  2. The most common species, the Persian ranunculus, are made of layers of paper-thin petals ranging in colour from soft whites, pinks and yellows to fiery oranges and reds.
  3. Wild ranunculus can also still be found growing wild and in home gardens in some areas of the world.



4. The name ranunculus comes from two latin words. Rana meaning ‘frog’ and unculus meaning ‘little’. It is assumed this name was fitting because they grew along streams and were as prevalent as frogs in the springtime.

5. There are two legends of the ranunculus flower. The Persian legend states that a young prince who always wore green and gold (much like the yellow ranunculus) fell in love with a nymph and sang to her all day and all night. The nymph became so tired of listening to the prince sing, that she turned the prince into a buttercup flower.

6. However, according to Native American Legend, the ranunculus is also known as “coyote eyes”. It is said that a coyote was entertaining himself by throwing its eyes into the air and catching them again. An eagle suddenly swooped down and caught the coyote’s eyes in the air. With no way to see, the coyote picked two buttercup flowers and used them as eyes instead. We’ll let you make your own minds up.

7. Traditionally, Native Americans used dried petals to create a compound to treat sore muscles and joints.

8. Today, the ranunculus flower symbolizes love and attraction for one another. Gift this flower to show someone that you are sweet on them!

9. The ranunculus is also known for being a longer lasting cut flower. Without any special food or care, they will stay fresh up to 7 days after being cut – perfect for a luxury bouquet fan!

10. As they are a symbol of affection and last a long time as a cut flower, the ranunculus is a very popular centrepiece of modern day bridal bouquets.


© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2015

© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2015


11. If you want to add a burst of colour to your patio or garden, consider growing your own buttercups. These perennials will keep bringing colour back to your garden year after year. Plant bulbs in the fall for March blooms, or plant bulbs in the spring for blooms in June and July.

12. Producing 25-45 cm glassy green stalks, the ranunculus thrives in areas with mild winters. Also, longer, cooler springs are perfect for this plant. Place the bulbs in an area with full sun and well-drained soil.

Tip! To extend their life even longer, make sure to check out our 5 tips to make your bouquet last longer.

Spiky Pink Bouquet


13. The ranunculus is most commonly grown alongside other cool weather plants such as the snapdragon, Chinese forget-me-not, pansy and sweet pea. Planting a cluster of ranunculus in your garden can give the illusion of floating bursts of colour.

14. When cutting flowers to be gifted or displayed indoors, cut fully grown flowers just before their buds open. While the ranunculus is a perennial, some gardeners treat them as an annual and compost the foliage after bloom. However, if you want to save the plants for next year, do not trim back the dead foliage after phasing out of season. Leaving the stems will provide nutrients as they close down. To sow the seeds next season, allow healthy cut flowers to dry out, and then the seeds can be removed by gently shaking and rubbing the dried flower.

15. Finally, make sure to display any cut ranunculus away from pets. If ingested, ranunculus flowers are toxic to cats and dogs.


Want to know more about your favourite flower? Let us know below what you want to see next in our ‘Flower Facts’ series.