© RHS / Carol Sheppard


Border buttercups

Botanical name: Ranunculus

These easy-to-grow, undemanding plants are widely grown in borders alongside other cottage-garden favourites such as pulmonarias and campanulas and in informal meadow plantings. These include Ficaria verna, formally called Ranunculus ficaria.


Glistening yellow or white flowers open above mats of bright green leaves in spring and summer. Most have wide-petalled cup-shaped blooms, although some are daisy-like with narrow petals, while others have double flowers that look like mini-dahlias. Plants usually disappear below ground in winter.


Buttercups prefer slightly damp soil that doesn’t dry out, in sun or light shade. Ranunculus gramineus grows well in either the border or rock garden.


They don’t do well in very dry soils. Most won’t flower successfully in deep shade, apart from the more vigorous types.

Did you know?

The name Ranunculus means ‘little frog’ – an allusion to the damp habitats that are often the natural home of these plants in the wild.

Growing guide

Ranunculus we recommend

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Useful advice

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Creating wildflower meadows

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Perennial borders: choosing plants

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Wildflower meadow maintenance

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