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What Ranunculus needs

Ranunculus

What to look for across the season

Spring

Spring is when the magic happens and your bulbs come into bloom. So, sit back, relax and enjoy your outdoor space.

Watering is about the only thing you really need to worry about, particularly for plants in pots.

And deadheading, which sounds slightly sinister, but is simply snipping off the flower stalks as they fade so that the bulb puts its energy into creating blooms for next year.

Summer

Many of your spring bulbs will have finished flowering by now, but you might still have some late tulips, alliums and irises in flower.

Once your bulbs finish flowering, just let them be, the foliage will turn yellow, then brown, but this is good - they are now focussed on storing energy for next year's displays.

Autumn

By autumn, there'll be no sign of any bulbs. But they are there, underground, getting ready for the next spring!

Now's the time to plant more bulbs if you want to boost your displays.

Winter

You may see little spikes of green poking out of the soil as your bulbs start coming to life.

If you've got snowdrops and crocus, you might see flowers as early as January. Frost or snow? Don't worry, bulbs are hardy and are not bothered by a little cold weather.

What The Plant Needs

Watering

Bulbs don't usually need any additional water when they're still underground; rainwater will be enough. But as soon as they start poking their leaves out, keep an eye on watering.

Spring bulbs need plenty of water once you can see them - especially those in pots.

Once they've finished flowering, don't scrimp on the watering; bulbs need watering for at least six weeks after they finish flowering until the leaves die down and they go dormant. At this stage it is all about storing energy in the bulb ready for next year.

Feeding

Start feeding bulbs with a potassium-rich liquid feed as soon as the shoots start to appear and then feed every seven to ten days.

Keep feeding even when the flowers stop and the foliage starts to yellow. As with watering, this is an important time for bulbs as they store energy for next year.

Pruning

You don't need to prune bulbs. If you have the time and not too many bulbs, it will help if you cut off the flower stalk at the base as the flowers fade.

This encourages the bulb to put its energy into creating more flowers next year. Other than that, once the foliage has completely died back (after about six weeks), you can remove it.

One other thing: don't tie up or knot the leaves; it might look tidier, but can actually prevent a good flowering display next year.

Protection

Spring bulbs are hardy plants, so don't require winter protection.

The only thing they don't like is sitting in wet, cold compost, so always plant in a well-drained spot. If you've got bulbs in pots, move somewhere sheltered over winter so they don't get too wet.

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