entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorstudio choowe like it wild

we like it wild: ranunculus

by Grace Bonney

The return of one of our favorites to local farms here in California makes the cool and rainy month of January (and we’ve had some rain this week!) a bit brighter. When ranunculus come back into season their size and color variations can’t be beat. Sometimes there are flowers within one family that have such a wide range of personalities that they can play a variety of venues. The ranunculus is that flower for us. They can be as dense, intense and petal-packed as a garden rose, or as light and airy as tissue-weight poppies. Their arching buds and frilly leaves make amazing additions to any arrangement.
The ranunculus is from the same family as the buttercup and a relative of the anemone, but has a more complex petal pattern and comes in a wider variety of colors. They are a tuberous-rooted plant and the most common variety used as a cut flower is the Ranunculus Asiaticus, or Persian Buttercup. The name comes from the Latin “rana”, meaning “frog” (after the moist environments where many members of the Ranunculaceae family typically grow). We raided our image archives for some of our favorite ranunculus arrangements and to show you the wide variety of colors these beauties come in.

Ranuncs from the farmer’s market are perfect (and inexpensive) for creating easy displays around your home. A bright row of jewel toned clusters makes a beautiful centerpiece substitute- create bouquets in your hand by lining up the blossoms, cut short, and place in your favorite small cups. For a more gardeny feel leave them long and leafy and showcase individual stems in a collection of clear glass bottles.

We love that these flowers can be just as at home on the kitchen table with a few sprigs of green as they are with some more unusual pairings, such as succulents or citrus fruits. A cluster of pristine white ranunculus could easily be mistaken for garden roses upon first glance, and the multitude of petals, sometimes 25 rows deep, adds amazing depth to a bouquet. As an added bonus they usually last for a couple of weeks, and like us they get better as they age.

CLICK HERE for more lovely ranunculus images and arrangements after the jump!

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  • I always enjoy your flower posts. Ranunculus are an all time favorite of mine. Thanks for another great post!

  • ranunculus were my wedding flower!!! i’m so in LOVE with them. thanks for brightening my day. not only is it a cold, gloomy, rainy LA day but work is also just as cold + gloomy!

  • Oh beautiful!
    Are those black scabiosas?? in about the tenth photo down .. white ranuncs and purple berries. I need to find some seeds for those!

    Such creative combos of some of my favorite plants.

  • I had my heart set on ranunculus as my wedding flowers…but it was not meant to be. I got married in Cabo, and they aren’t native. :(

    They still have a special spot in my heart, though.

  • I had time to visit one last blog before I have to go pick up my son from school and I picked Design Sponge. I totally made the right choice because this post is just beautiful. Ranunculus are one of my favorite flowers and those pictures are stunning.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

  • oh my goodness, i want these all over every room of my house… so cheery!!

    thank you for sharing these beautiful arrangements :)

  • My favorite flower! My sweet husband bought me white ranunculus for our houseguests last weekend, and they are even more beautiful now than they were over the weekend. Thanks!

  • These are the only cut flowers I really love. BUT: Just yesterday I saw them in a catalog for bulbs and seeds and hell yes, I’m going to order like $100 worth of it and floor my balcony with them. Ranunculus really beats all those exotic frailties.

  • I adore ranunculus. Really wanted them for my autumn wedding and my florist managed to get hold of the last 12 orange flowers in Holland just in time! Super photography, a real winter lift.

  • Who would have thought they’d even look good with succulents! I never would have thought to put these two favorites together. I’ve loved Ranunculus in the yard for so long but I’ve never had them as cut flowers. I’ll have to change that for sure.

  • Ranunculus and anemones are my all-time favorites. If I ever get married, I’m carrying these! Such gorgeous photos!

  • these are GORGEOUS!!!

    i was heartbroken when i couldn’t use ranunculus for my wedding bouquet & centerpieces :( my advise to all my friends were: choose your wedding date carefully – know what flowers are in season!

  • lovely arrangements :) i always say ranunculus is the perfect flower. mine are waiting to sprout right now and i wish i could find a florist selling some in town until mine come up!

  • Hello! I LOVE these flowers, and have been trying to get hold of their name since my mum got a bunch of them as a leaving present. i would love them for my wedding which is in December in the UK, will they be in season here? Help!

  • Oh man, I love ranunculus to the point of obsession so your post totally made my day. I’ve been going a bit garden/flower crazy this last week as winter continues to drag on here in Canada but, ranunculus! Who can be unhappy with ranunculus! Thanks!

  • Wow. Love the unique elements in each of these arrangements. Lucky are those who live in the land of citrus trees!! I live in the north, so we tend to use a lot of twigs and berries this time of year–it’s all good.

  • Anyone living near southern California should definitely visit The Flower Fields, which is in Carlsbad, for their annual ranunculus crop (from March to May). It is simply breathtaking!
    As for care, i work with flowers and have found that they like very little water, only a couple of inches at most (sort of like tulips, daffodils, poppies, and anemones), otherwise they tend to droop. Sometimes their little heads are just going to flop over, though, no matter what you do– especially if there is a nick or other weakness in the stem or the petals are simply too heavy for it. . . Some solutions are to prop up the flower’s head by nestling it in some greens (rose geranium, lemon leaf, or something else sturdy like that); otherwise, you can always just snip off the flower from the stem and float it in water until it falls apart (5 days or so, usually). They look really lovely that way :)

    Anyway, thanks for the post! These arrangements are so beautiful, and the photos are great.

  • what exquisite photos… ranunculus is one of my favorite flowers! I am so looking forward to spring and my new garden :)

  • These flowers are absolutely goregous! I’ve actually seen them before but never knew what they were called.

    I am curious though: are they similar to the paperwhite bulbs that you featured just a month or two ago? I would love to grow these myself, and I was just wondering if they could be grown in the same way with the glass jar and pebbles, or with the usual pot and soil?

    Thanks so much!

  • My cousin sent me this link, and I’m so glad that she did! I enjoy the femininity of ranunculus and actually have a bouquet of lavendar speckled white ones in my flat. I plan on using them in my wedding…

    Thank you for placing this bud in the spotlight!

  • I am a little late on this one, but I would love to know the name of small gray balls in the 5th arrangement. I love them so much!!

    The 10th arrangement of dark purple is also really nice.

  • I’d never really paid attention to ranunculus before reading your posts. You’ve created some of my favorite arrangement and color studies with these rediscovered flowers. Thank-you.