Why Are My Ranunculus Not Flowering? 8 Likely Reasons And Solutions

Flowery plants hold a special place in the hearts of plant enthusiasts. This makes Ranunculus a popular plant among them.

Ranunculus plants are one of the brightest and most colorful plants out there. When you get such a plant, it’s mainly for the flowers. But what if it doesn’t bloom? The first question you’d ask yourself is: why are my Ranunculus not flowering?

Ranunculus plants not flowering happens for many reasons. Bad bulbs, wrong soil, low-quality fertilizers, and insufficient sunlight are all possible reasons for your Ranunculus to not bloom. It’s important to learn how to correctly care for your plant to give it the best chances to blossom.

If you’d like to know how to handle your Ranunculus and make it flower, stick with us.

Image of orange Ranunculus bud in a garden - used in article titled Why Are My Ranunculus Not Flowering? 8 Likely Reasons And Solutions.

Why Are My Ranunculus Not Flowering?

There are a few reasons why your Buttercup may not be flowering as it should.

Fortunately, all of these reasons have solutions and they’re within your grasp to control.

Reason #1: Cheap or Dead Bulbs

Buying cheap plant bulbs is a bad idea. They’re often cheap for a reason and you may encounter many problems as the plant grows.

Cheap bulbs could produce small flowers or no flowers at all. We recommend investing in quality bulbs as they are the main core of your plant.

Keep in mind that bulbs aren’t like seeds. If you have some well-stored seeds, you can keep them around for a long time and still plant them normally.

This isn’t the case with bulbs. Ranunculus bulbs should be planted at their optimum time. That’s often spring or summer. 

If you miss that time, consider planting your bulbs nevertheless. They have lower chances of growing in an optimum way, but it’s still worth it. Bulbs can’t survive too long outside the soil like seeds.

Keep in mind that Ranunculus planted in the wrong season has fewer chances of flowering normally.

Reason #2: Choosing the Wrong Soil

The most important step in any progress is the first one. If you choose the wrong type of soil for your Ranunculus, little flowering will be only one problem among many others.

Many plants require heavy soil that retains water to grow. That’s not the case with Ranunculus.

Buttercups prefer loamy or sandy soils. The mix of sand, humus, and clay found in loamy soils are ideal for the growth of buttercups. 

If you happen to already have soil that’s a bit too heavy, don’t lose hope. You can still grow Ranunculus plants in heavy soil if you amend them with peat moss

Alternatively, you can use raised garden beds to help you control your soil.

Image of plant fertilizer and bag

Reason #3: Wrong Fertilizer Quantity and Quality

Before you plant your bulbs, you should mix them with your fertilizer or with compost. A common among beginners is not adding any more fertilizer after the first addition. 

The flowering stage requires a lot of minerals for the plant to bloom. You should introduce a water-soluble fertilizer at least once every two weeks. This is to make sure that your Ranunculus is getting the appropriate nutrition.

Much like with bulbs, you should always invest in good-quality fertilizers. 

Reason #4: Early Foliage Removal

When Ranunculus plants start to bloom or flower, they often have a layer of leaves surrounding the flowering bud known as foliage.

There’s a common misconception that removing that foliage will help the flower to go unobstructed. 

This isn’t true. The foliage of green leaves serves as a food and energy source for the flowering bud. If that foliage is removed prematurely, you risk cutting vital food supply to the flower. 

We recommend waiting until the flower has grown at least half its size before you remove the foliage.

Reason #5: Inappropriately Watering Your Plant

The quantity of water you give to your Ranunculus should vary depending on the growth stage.

Before planting your bulbs for the first time, you need to soak them in water for 10 – 12 hours to increase the size of your bulbs and prepare them for planting.

The soaking shouldn’t completely cover the bulbs or they’d have a high chance of forming molds. Once the soaking is complete, your bulbs should be ready to go into the soil.

As for the soil itself, we recommend using enough water until the soil feels moist and marks your hands if you touch it. That should be the optimum amount of water.

Wait for 5 – 6 days until your bulbs start to sprout out of the soil. You shouldn’t apply any more water until you start seeing the sprouts.

Your watering from this point onward should be once every 10 – 14 days. If the temperature is high, the watering interval may be shorter.

As a general rule, the soil should always have enough water to leave a moist mark on your finger if you dip it in. If you can’t dig a small hole with your finger in the soil or it feels too dry, then you need some more water.

Close up image of water pouring from watering can onto blooming flower bed

Reason #6: Not Enough Sunlight

Plants have variable light requirements. These could be:

  • Full sun
  • Full sun + partial shade
  • Partial shade
  • Dappled sun
  • Full shade

If you don’t follow the sunlight requirement of your plant, it’s likely to experience some growth deficiency. Our Ranunculi like to be the stars of the show, they prefer the full sun treatment.

At any given growth stage, you should place your Ranunculus in an area that receives six to eight hours of sun every day.

Sunlight is the main reason why plants undergo the photosynthesis process. This process is essentially the plant making its own food which helps it grow and bloom. If there’s no sun, there’s no photosynthesis, and the flowering will halt.

Reason #7: Not Cutting Off the Spent Flowers

So you’ve managed to get your Ranunculus to blossom and grow its beautiful flowers. A few months later, you notice that some of those flowers are dying. Should you be concerned?

Not at all. Flowers have a much shorter life expectancy than the plant which carries them. Dying flowers is a normal phenomenon that happens in most garden plants.

However, you shouldn’t leave these flowers on your plant. Cutting or “deadheading” these spent flowers is essential for your plant.

Spent flowers consume a good amount of energy, minerals, and food from your plant. They may be on their way to falling on their own but the plant isn’t aware of that and will keep trying to keep them until the last minute.

This could take the energy and nutrients away from newly budding flowers and could result in their premature death. Cutting those spent flowers gives your Ranunculus the chance to direct its food supply to where it matters more.

Ratty flowers usually start to appear in the Spring or Summer and that’s when you should trim them. Your cutting should be at the base of the flower’s stem.

Only cut the bad flowers and don’t worry if your plant looks less flowery than it was. Deadheading the spent flowers actually promotes the growth of more flowers. You’d be doing your Ranunculus a favor. 

Reason #8: Insects and Fungus

Infestations are common among plants especially if they’re not appropriately looked after. Whether it’s bugs or fungal infestations, you need to make sure your plant is free of these.

Investing in antifungal and insecticidal sprays is always worth it.

That’s a Wrap

So, Why are Ranunculus plants not flowering? It’s often because of a wrong step that has happened along the way. 

Ranunculus won’t decide to stop flowering, they will always try to bloom. Things like insects, bad soil, bad fertilizer, and wrong season, are all possible causes for your plant not to flower.

It’s in your hand to help your plant bloom. Don’t let it down.

Back to Petals And Hedges home page