Glorious ranunculus makes a delicious display in groupings or simply in containers. The tubers are not hardy in zones below USDA zone 8, but you can lift them and save them for the next season. Storing ranunculus tubers is quick and easy but there are a few rules to observe, or the tubers will not have enough energy to bloom the next year. They are also prone to rotting if ranunculus bulb storage is not done properly. Learn how to store ranunculus so you can enjoy their brilliant colors and prolific displays of tissue paper-like blooms.
When Do You Dig Ranunculus Bulbs?
Bulb and tuber storage is not necessary in some zones, but if you have a tender variety, it would be a sin not to try and save them for the next year. It is important to save ranunculus bulbs over winter in areas prone to any freezing, as they are extremely sensitive and will not survive much more than a light frost. Fortunately, it is a simple task that you just have to remember to do before that cold weather threatens. It may seem like a trivial detail, but knowing the answer to the question of, “When do you dig ranunculus bulbs out for winter” is an important piece of trivia. This is because tubers and bulbs are plant storage organs with carbohydrates nestled away for new plants to use for growth before they put out adequate roots. Any of these organs need to collect solar energy, which they turn into carbohydrates or plant sugars. The only way they can do this is through photosynthesis with their leaves. For this reason, leaving the tubers in the ground until the foliage has faded provides the organ with essential energy for the next season's growth.
Additional Reasons for Ranunculus Bulb Storage
In addition to the fact that the plants are not winter hardy in the colder zones, storing ranunculus may be necessary in warmer regions. This is due to the presence of digging mammals, which like to nibble on the high energy organs. These would include:
Most areas of the world have at least one pest animal that will dig up and chow down on their prized bulbs. If these types of animals are present in your garden, it is vital to save ranunculus bulbs over winter. It's much more economical than purchasing new bulbs and tubers the following spring.
How to Store Ranunculus
The most crucial issue is drying and dry storage. Many gardeners have experienced the futility of storing bulbs only to find they succumbed to moisture and rot over the winter. Dig out the tubers when the foliage is dry and dead. Cut off the leaves and allow the tubers to dry completely for several days, either indoors in a warm, low humidity room, or simply out in the sun. Store the tubers packed in dry moss, such as peat, in a mesh bag. Those mesh onion bags are a great thing to save for storing any bulb or tuber. After the cold season is over, start the tubers indoors in February and plant out when the soil is warm and workable. In temperate zones, you can install them directly into garden beds by mid-April to May for blooms in June or July.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.
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