Ranunculus are some of the most beautiful garden flowers, strangely, they don't seem to get the attention they deserve. The new British-bred Rococo Series looks set to change all that. I grew them last year and they were superb, both vigorous and prolific.
Reaching about 40-45cm high and flowering enthusiastically in May and June, for longer if regularly picked or deadheaded, the upward facing semi-double flowers are like no other varieties.
Developed from wild Ranunculus species by London plant breeder John Fielding, he told me all about them.
“Twenty years ago I attempted some crosses with Ranunculus asiaticus and other species,” he said, “and to my surprise I achieved a range of colourful plants. I continued to develop them and as well as the lovely flower colours I found that the thicker stems were more robust, meaning staking is not necessary, and they also proved themselves as good weather-proof cut flowers.
“They are also excellent bedding plants, associating well with late-flowering tulips and other spring bedding. The many side buds continue to flower as the first flowers fall and the flowers develop a two-tone effect as they age which is particularly attractive.
“They also proved to be remarkably hardy, growing through the winter yet experiencing -15ºC without harm. They respond dramatically to feeding and put on masses of growth producing more flowers per stem than typical R. asiaticus varieties.”
The first two varieties are now available, ‘Rococo Pink’ has bright pink, prettily waved flowers with an appealing old-fashioned look while ‘Rococo Peach’ comes in two-tone peachy apricot shades. Others are on the way.
You can order Ranunculus ‘Rococo’ from Sarah Raven.
Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS