Is Your Ranunculus Drooping, Dying or Wilting? 5 Likely Causes And Solutions

You’ve been working hard to give your beloved Ranunculus everything it needs. You’ve followed the instructions as much as you could and did everything as right as you could.

The plant is growing nicely and the flowers are blooming like rainbows. Yet, day after day, you’re starting to notice that your Ranunculus is limping. 

What’s going on? Why is the Ranunculus drooping?

Ranunculus drooping happens for a variety of reasons, mainly insufficient water and sunlight. Dusty leaves, small pots, bad soil, and insects are additional reasons for your Ranunculus to droop.

Before understanding how to handle drooping, we should first know what it is.

Fading yellow buttercup flowers with falling petals in a transparent glass vase on a white background.

What Is Ranunculus Drooping?

Ranunculus drooping is a state where the plant leaves and flowers are bending downwards in a limp-like condition. 

Some plants don’t have a strong posture by nature, but that’s not the case here. Ranunculus is among the plants that should be standing upright.

For these upright plants, drooping is often a sign that the plant is in distress. It could mean insufficient nutrition, disease, or infestations.

Causes of Ranunculus Drooping 

There are many causes when it comes to Ranunculus drooping, but all of them require a minor intervention to fix. 

  1. Dusty Leaves

Dusty leaves are one of the most common reasons for plant drooping, especially if your plant is placed indoors.

Ranunculus receives sunlight through pores that are present on the surface of the leaves. When these pores are blocked by dust and debris, they receive less and less sunlight.

Letting more dust accumulate could lead to a complete blockage of sunlight. If that happens, the Ranunculus won’t be able to undergo photosynthesis and make its food which weakens the stiffness of the stems.

Dust particles also prevent the green leaves from regulating their moisture content. How does that happen, you’re wondering?

Plants get rid of excess water through their leaves in a process known as transpiration. If that extra water is retained inside the stem, it will mess up the cellular osmosis and cause limping. 

  1. Decreased Water

Decreased water is another common reason for Ranunculus limping. Water is necessary for the plant to perform its vital functions and the less water it has, the weaker it will get.

However, the water situation is a bit tricky with Ranunculus. When most people notice the drooping of their Ranunculus leaves, their first instinct is to add some more water.

After all, since drooping is caused by little water, then the logical solution would be to add some more, right? Well, most people have reported that adding extra water didn’t improve the drooping situation. 

Adding too much water or having heavy soil could cause the roots to be smothered in water and not absorb enough to keep the plant alive.

The solution at this point would be to dig out your Ranunculus and place it in some loamy soil.

aloe vera with roots in ground repot to bigger clay pot indoors
  1. Root Binding

Planting Ranunculus in small pots may not seem like a problem at first. As time goes on, you may start to see it drooping for no obvious reason. That happens because of root binding.

Root binding is a condition where the roots start to run out of space inside the pot, so they converge and grow inwards until they start getting tied to one another.

Why would this be a problem? Every bit of extra root in a smaller space reduces the amount of available soil, food, and water that the plant needs to survive.

To prevent that from happening, you need to plant your Ranunculus in at least a 6-inch pot. If you want to plant more than one Ranunculus bulb in one pot, you need a space of 4-5 inches between each bulb.

That being said, a suitable pot for two Ranunculus bulbs should be sized at 10 inches.

  1. Bugs

Whether your Ranunculus is indoors or outdoors, you should always keep an eye out for bugs. Sap-sucking insects and mites can drain the fluids out of your plant, especially if they infest it in high numbers.

Aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs are some of the most common insects that cause your Ranunculus to droop.

Carefully inspect your plant, not just by looking at it, but also by checking under the leaves and foliage. 

Aphids and mealybugs are easy to deal with; just a few sprays of insecticidal soap should make a quick work of them.

Scale insects are the ones that could give you a hassle. They have protective shells that reduce the efficiency of insecticidal soaps.

You could soak cotton in alcohol and apply it to the scale insects to get rid of them. Alternatively, you could pick them off one by one using a tweezer. Their slow movement will ease the process for you.

  1. Damaged Stems

Most plants have a good degree of resiliency to resist extreme bending and fracture, but that doesn’t make it impossible for stems to take damage.

When a Ranunculus plant is subjected to strong wind or harsh handling, some of its stems may break under pressure.

This could give the illusion of drooping, but fortunately, it only happens in the affected stem or group of stems.

Broken stems hinder the water from reaching the terminals of the stem, which may lead to its deterioration. If you suspect such a thing, inspect your plant using your fingers and look for any broken stems. If you do find some, you could try to save the broken stem.

Use a piece of cheesecloth to tie the broken part. The plant has a small chance of fixing itself and the water may run again through the broken part.

If the condition gets worse, you may need to cut that broken stem to give room for the rest of the plant to grow.

Close up image of two purple/pink ranunculus flowers - used in article titled Is Your Ranunculus Drooping, Dying or Wilting?

What to Do to Help Your Ranunculus Recover From Drooping?

Once you’ve discovered the source of the problem, there are a few things you can do to hasten your plant’s recovery from drooping.

  1. Support Your Ranunculus

If you notice the drooping problem before it gets too severe, you may provide some support to keep it upright.

You may dip a stick into the plant’s soil to help the plant stay upright. Keep in mind that this poses the risk of stabbing or cutting the root.

Alternatively, you could try gardening ties. Attach those ties to the stake and they will gently support the plant.

  1. Consistent Use of Insecticidal Soap

Using insecticidal soap doesn’t have to be only when you spot bugs.

Spraying your plant once a day or once every other day is a good way to prevent bugs from appearing to begin with.

  1. Clean the Leaves Everyday

Much like insects, you don’t need to be visibly seeing dust on the Ranunculus leaves to start cleaning them. 

Make a habit of cleaning the leaves every day to provide the best chances for your Ranunculus to make its food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ranunculus drooping more common indoors or outdoors?

Drooping is more common in indoor planted Ranunculus. There’s often less sun and more shade than desired for the plant to stay upright.

Can I use distilled water to fix drooping?

Distilled water isn’t recommended with Ranunculus. They lack the necessary minerals for the plant to strive.

How long does it take to fix a drooping ranunculus?

Ranunculus is a resilient plant. The drooping should improve within a day or two and completely disappear within a week.

To Sum Things Up

Ranunculus drooping is caused by many things. The good news is that you can easily handle all of these causes.

Do a little inspection to eliminate causes like broken stems, bug infestations, and root binding.

Once you exclude those, focus on improving the water and sunlight situation, then make the habit of cleaning your plant every day.

Follow these steps and your Ranunculus should come back to life in no time.

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