Ranunculus Bulbs Not Growing: 8 Likely Reasons And Solutions

You’ve finally got your hands on some Ranunculus bulbs and are already fantasizing about the colors that will blossom in your garden. 

You prepare everything, you plant those bulbs, and you start waiting. Your friends told you that you should expect to see growth within five days and some green within nine. It’s been two weeks but nothing is happening!

What could be the reason for Ranunculus bulbs not growing?

Ranunculus bulbs not growing could stem from various reasons like low-quality bulbs, bad soil, and little sun. Using the wrong fertilizer, or planting your bulbs too close or in the wrong season could also result in growth hindering.

Ranunculus may be a beautiful plant but it’s quite delicate and picky on the conditions it needs to grow.

If you’d like to know what could stop your bulbs from growing and how to handle that, we got you covered!

Blooming orange flower used in article titled Ranunculus Bulbs Not Growing

Why Are My Ranunculus Bulbs Not Growing?

Here’s the list of reasons that could hold your bulb in place.

Using Cheap Ranunculus Bulbs

Planting Ranunculus begins with choosing high-quality bulbs. It may be tempting to save a good amount of money by purchasing seemingly cheaper bulbs. 

Avoid bulbs that look spongy or moldy. These cheap bulbs may be of low quality or they could be dead or near-dead bulbs. Getting such bulbs gives a high chance of them not growing at all. 

You’d end up spending more money to dig them out, buy new bulbs, re-prepare the soil, and replant them again.

Planting in the Wrong Season

Ranunculus is a spring-flowering plant. The best time to plant them would be between September and November. However, this is around 12 weeks of time and the temperature would vary depending on where you live.

For example, you should plant your bulbs in September if you live in Minnesota. On the other hand, planting should be in November if you live in Tennessee. Why is that?

The answer is the temperature. Ranunculus plants should be planted when the temperature is slightly below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the temperature is than 55, the fewer are the chances of your bulbs growing.

It’s best to check a local nursery for guidance on what’s the best time to plant your Ranunculus bulbs.

Pink and white roses or ranunculus and tulips isolated on white background. Flat lay, top view

Your Bulbs Have Deteriorated

Bulbs can’t be stored like seeds. Seeds can be stored anywhere between two to five years depending on the storing conditions and the type of the plant.

Bulbs, on the other hand, can be stored for a maximum of 12 months. If you miss your planting window, 12 months seem like a long time to wait until the right time comes, right?

Well, not really. If you had purchased the bulbs, then you’d have no idea how long they were stored nor how many of those 12 months had already passed. In this scenario, your best bet would be to plant the bulbs even if you had missed the window.

The Ranunculus bulb may not grow the way it should but it still has a much better chance of growing than waiting outside the soil for the bulb to deteriorate.

The other scenario is if you had lifted your bulbs yourself from a Ranunculus plant you already have. You’d then know exactly how many months left do you have to store your bulbs and when to plant them before they deteriorate. 

Planting Bulbs Too Close to Each Other

Planting bulbs too close to each other may cause the roots to interlock. This interlocking could strangle the root system and prevent the plant from acquiring the necessary nutrition from the soil.

The distance between plant bulbs varies from plant to plant. Some need to be closer and others need to be further apart.

In the case of Ranunculus, your bulbs should be at least 4 inches away from each other to reduce the risk of root entanglement.

Using the Wrong Soil

One of the most common reasons for Ranunculus bulbs not growing is using the wrong type of soil.

Ranunculus plants (as well as most flowering plants) are somewhat picky in their soil demands. Ideally, you should have sandy or loamy soil for the Ranunculus to grow.

The spaces between the loamy soil particles are enough for the bulbs to grow and reach the surface.

Heavier soils aren’t preferred for Ranunculus growth. Their extreme water retention and low spaces between particles could completely obstruct the growth of the bulbs. 

If you intend to grow Ranunculus bulbs in heavier soils, you have to apply peat moss first. It’s an amendment that allows the soil to drain water, while retaining enough water to keep the soil moist; the ideal amount of water for Ranunculus to grow.

Shovel in soil. Close-up

Insufficient Fertilizer

Another common reason for Ranunculus bulbs not growing is the insufficient application of fertilizer. 

It doesn’t only apply to Ranunculus, most flowery plants require a decent amount of nutrition to grow. Mixing your bulbs with the right fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen is essential for their growth.

Spring-blooming bulbs like Ranunculus have a specific way of fertilizing. You need to mix five tablespoons of 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer with five cups of bone meal fertilizer. This is enough for a 10-square-foot area of bulbs.

The 10-10-10 in the soluble fertilizer stands for the amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium; all are mandatory ingredients for bulb growth.

Using Too Much or Too Little Water

The amount of water you add in the early stages of bulb growth is important. Before planting your bulbs you need to soak them in water for them to double in size and prepare for planting.

This soaking should be done for 10-12 hours. The soaking should never completely submerge the bulbs or you’d risk having molds.

You shouldn’t attempt to soak the bulbs again if they don’t double in size as this risks molding. They don’t “have” to be exactly double the size, they just need to grow. Once you soak, you should plant right away.

Immediately after planting your bulbs, you should apply enough water to the soil until you see a thin layer of water on top of it. This layer should be able to last for around five minutes. If the soil manages to absorb the water before that, then you need some more water.

Wait for a few days until you see your bulbs breaking through the surface. If you don’t notice that happening after five days, you may add some more water but without soaking the soil.

Once the Ranunculus bulbs start growing, watering should be done every 10 – 14 days or if the soil feels dry. Remember that moist soil is the optimum one for Ranunculus growth. 

Sun through the window

Planting Away From the Sunlight

Understanding your plant’s light requirements can go a long way in growing a healthy plant. Your Ranunculus bulbs need a full sun treatment to grow. Full sun is one of five different light requirements you need to know before growing any plant.

Whether you’ve just planted your bulbs or they have already grown up, your Ranunculus should be planted in an area with six to eight hours of sunlight every day.

Sunlight is important for the plant to form its own food through a process known as photosynthesis. Ranunculus needs quite a lot of that.

Conclusion: Ranunculus Bulbs Not Growing?

Ranunculus bulbs not growing have many reasons but also many solutions.

If you choose the correct soil, water your bulbs correctly, and choose a suitable sunny planting sight; then you’re guaranteed to have a healthy growing plant.

It’s all a matter of knowing what to do and following the instructions. Happy planting!

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