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So many reasons to love this pretty spring bloom.

Updated May 01, 2020
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The Centerpiece
Credit: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Often referred to as the Rose of Spring, ranunculus is a favorite amongst flower lovers for good reason. With its defined round shape and whisper-thin petals, ranunculus may inspire comparisons to roses and peonies—an aesthetic crowd-pleaser on all fronts. It’s utterly romantic and undeniably whimsical: Tucked into a bridal bouquet, ranunculus looks delicate and sweet; sprouting from a colorful Mother’s Day centerpiece, it’s playful and offbeat. Here, we’re singing the iconic spring bloom’s praises, from planting them to arranging with them.

Around 250 species fall under the genus: ranunculus umbrella, and they all vary in behavior and appearance. The buttercups can be treated as annuals or perennials and do well in the South (particularly Louisiana and Texas), where winters are mild. They can be planted in pots or in your garden, where they won’t be tempting to deer who find themselves feeling a little peckish. Study our guide on how to grow them here.

Of course, if you’d rather just scoop up a bunch from your local flower market, we feel that too.

“Ranunculus are one of my favorite blooms, and I use them in almost every design I create,” says Caroline Spelman, owner of Juniper & Jasmine, a floral design company in Charleston, South Carolina.

They’re a smart choice for arrangements, she notes, as they’re long-lasting and super versatile. “Their sturdy stems can be tucked in for more traditionally styled arrangements, or they can fly out to add whimsy to more organic, garden-style arrangements.”

Plus, says Spelman, ranunculus come in just about every color imaginable, so they’re easy to incorporate into a variety of color palettes.

Best of all, though, are what the blooms say.

In the Victorian-era language of flowers, a botanical code used to express sentiments that may not have been appropriate to articulate aloud, ranunculus declared, “You are radiant with charms.”

“If that’s not enough to convince you how special these flowers are,” says Spelman, “I don’t know what will!”

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