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Home > Plant Care Guide > Species

Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) Care Guide

The genus Ranunculus is a perennial herb that belongs to the Buttercup family and grows widely in a variety of climate conditions and habitats to make an excellent ground cover in the spring and summer. Each flower has five petals, usually yellow; hybrids show shades of pink, purple, orange, white, and red. Growing Ranunculus is very easy and doesn't require special effort or care.
The majority of the plants in the genus Ranunculus grow 25 - 61 cm tall if properly handled. Most plants of this genus have significant ornamental value and can be planted in outdoor gardens, landscapes, public parks, and offices. It can also be used in borders and flowerpots and is famous as a source for fresh cut flowers. At present, there are many hybrid varieties to make your landscape awesome.

Quick Care Guides

  • Where can I grow my creeping buttercup?
  • What kind of soil needs to be prepared for planting a creeping buttercup?
  • How much and how often should I water my creeping buttercup?
  • How to stop the pests of creeping buttercup?

Condition Requirement

Water and Hardiness

Creeping buttercup likes a dry and cool climate but is not resistant to severe cold or heat. The best temperature for growth is around 16 ℃ in the daytime and 8 ℃ at night. It won't grow well if the temperatures between day and night differ too much.
Creeping buttercup will go dormant in the high temperatures of summer. The temperature in winter should not go lower than 0 ℃. It likes a moist environment, but can't tolerate accumulated water in the root zone. During active plant growth, water 9 - 10 mm weekly to keep the topsoil moist. When the plant is dormant with only the bulb present under the soil, water 7 - 8 mm every two weeks.

Sunlight

Creeping buttercup grows best in full sun. It cannot grow without sunlight during the growth period, and won't bloom without enough sunlight. Selecting a sunny location of your garden beds will help you induce early flowering. It can be planted in raised beds if light conditions don't support it well in your outdoor garden.
For indoor cultivation, place on sunny balconies or rooftops, or near windows. In winter, sunlight gradually weakens. You may need to move it to a sunnier place to receive more sun.

Soil

Creeping buttercup likes to grow in well-drained acidic soils, with more nutrients and good air permeability. For potted plants, mix garden soil, leaf mold, and fine sand at a 4:2:1 ratio. The suitable soil pH is 5.8-6.5, which allows the root system to absorb oxygen smoothly and grow well.
For potted plants, use sandy loam that is rich in humus. this kind of soil is rich in nutrients, loose, and aerating, which is beneficial for root development and growth. Soil compaction or poor drainage can result in rotting roots due to waterlogging, so the flowerpot should be changed or the soil improved if plants appear rootbound.

Care Guide

Planting

Always buy healthy, jumbo-size corms, as they yield more branches and flowers. plant 10 - 15 cm apart and bury corms 5 cm below garden soil, with claws facing downward.
Soak corms in water for 12 hours to help them germinate and keep them in controlled temperature for 15 days. Creeping buttercup can be planted outdoors when sprouting starts. this process initiates earlier flowering than the conventional sowing method. The temperature for planting corms is 10 - 15 ℃; they will germinate in 2 weeks.
Sowing by seed also works in spring or fall. Disinfect the planting medium before spreading it in the bed. Wet the soil and evenly spread seeds after the water permeates. Cover seeds with fine soil and moisten occasionally if needed. It takes about 15-90 days for seeds to germinate, depending on the variety.

Water

During the seedling stage, water the soil only when it is dry. After planting, water thoroughly once and do not allow water to accumulate, as it can decay the young roots of creeping buttercup. During the peak growing season, water 9 - 10 mm weekly; reduce that by half during winter.
Soil should be kept slightly moist after the flower buds grow out. Water as little as possible during summer, and use a watering can sprinkle water on leaf surfaces. In winter, watering should be further reduced or withheld.

Fertilizer

Before planting, apply fully decomposed organic fertilizer as a base. Mix 1/3 of fully decomposed organic matter into the planting soil evenly. No top dressing is required before you plant the corms. After planting, fertilize with diluted NPK during blooming time.
After the flowers wither, apply fertilizer rich in potassium or phosphorus 1-2 times; spray the foliage with water-soluble NPK (0:10:11). Keep fertilizing your creeping buttercup until the foliage turns yellow and withers and the leaves start to fall from the plant. this is when underground corms are storing energy for future crops.

Pruning

Deadhead faded flowers during the active growing season. That encourages more bloom while cutting fresh flowers. When flowering stops and leaves start to yellow and wither, stop watering the plants and allow the leaves to die back fully.
Cut off the entire top of the plant, dig the corms out, and store them in a cool, dry place for the upcoming season. Treat corms with a fungicide solution before storing and planting. Where corms are hardy in the soil, they can be left undisturbed as long as the soil is kept dry during summer. As for potted plants, reserve 3-5 robust flower buds for each plant during the bud stage, and pick the rest.

Harvest

Creeping buttercup rewards the gardener generously when they blossom. Harvest when the buds are colored. Use sharp garden shears to harvest them when the temperature is low in the morning and put them in a vase with clean water promptly to avoid water loss. These beauties may have 5-7 days' vase life.

Propagation

Creeping buttercup can be propagated by corms, seed, or ramet. Ramet planting is usually done in fall. Dig out the stock plant from the flowerpot, shake the soil from the roots completely, and manually separate the stock plant. Ensure each part has 1-2 new buds and 3-4 small tuberous roots. Place them in 1% potassium permanganate solution for 3-5 minutes to disinfect; then dry and plant them. plant in an open field in fall when the temperature is no higher than 20 ℃. They will germinate in around 20 days.

Seasonal Precautions

plants can wither with the arrival of the summer heat. Use shading net to protect the soil from warming too much, and you may prolong the flowering period.

Common Problems

Can I grow creeping buttercup in pots?

Yes, it is very easy to grow in pots. Take a pot of 25 cm and fill it with potting soil containing at least 2/3 compost or coco peat. Bury the corms 5 cm below the potting soil and press the soil gently to release air. Water it immediately. Water again once the corms have sprouted fully.

Why do the leaves of creeping buttercup turn yellow?

Several factors are responsible for turning leaves yellow on creeping buttercup, including nutrient deficiency, especially nitrogen, excessive moisture, low aeration, and environmental stress, such as high soil temperature. If they turn yellow during the active growing season, look for nutrient deficiency and feed your plants a balanced fertilizer.

Pests and Diseases

Root Rot

Creeping buttercup is susceptible to rot when the roots are exposed to long-term waterlogging in heavy soils and high temperatures. These conditions cause the roots to rot and turn black-brown or black, while the above-ground stem and leaves gradually turn yellow, wither, and die.
To store after root rot, cut the diseased part away and clean, disinfect, and dry the tuberous root. Store in a cool, well-ventilated place. Before planting, treat the corm with copper fungicide and thoroughly disinfect the medium. During the active growth period, control the amount of water it gets and loosen the soil.

Mosaic Disease

In mosaic disease, yellowing spots appear on the leaves of creeping buttercup. As time goes on, the spots become brown and the leaves are deformed. Serious infestations affect the yield and quality of cut flowers.
Do not use plants with the mosaic disease for ramet propagation. Since mosaic is caused by a virus, the only effective solution is to plant mosaic-resistant varieties of creeping buttercup from reputable suppliers.

Southern Blight

Southern blight mainly affects the stem base of creeping buttercup. At the early stage of the disease, water stains and irregular light brown spots appear at the stem base. In serious cases, its stem base rots, branches and leaves wither, and the plant dies.
Once you see southern blight, inspect your plants regularly. Pay attention to ventilation, sunlight, and proper amounts of water. Remove and burn any diseased plants, and disinfect the surrounding soil. At the early stage of this disease, drench the stem base and surrounding soil with a fungicide to control the infestation.

Aphids

Aphids feed on the sap of leaves, stems, tips, and tender branches, causing nutrient loss until the plant withers. At the early stage, wash the leaves with soapy water or clean water. In a serious case, spray leaves with neem oil to kill them.

Leaf Miners

During their peak infestation period from late spring to early summer, adult leaf miners lay eggs, feed on leaves, and form twisting trails on the surface of the leaves. In a serious case, the entire plant dies. In the case of leaf miner infestation, spray pesticides once every 10 days three times in succession.

Other Uncommon Pests or Diseases

Moreover, there are some less common pests and diseases listed below that need your attention
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus
  • Whiteflies
  • Thrips
  • Fungus Gnats
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
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