Plant of the Month for June 2011

Ranunculus montanus; photo by Todd Boland
Ranunculus montanus

Description and general information

Commonly called 'mountain buttercup', this species hails from high elevations in the European Alps and the mountains of Balkans region. In habit, it grows in alpine meadows generally in fully open areas.

Plants form a low clump of basal leaves and reach 5-15 cm in height. The foliage is quite glossy. Flower stems are topped by a single yellow blossom. Unlike many buttercups, the foliage disappears in winter. 'Molten Gold', pictured above, is the most common cultivar.

Cultivation

Full sun in a well-drained but moisture-retentive soil; they are not fond of drought conditions. They are not particular about soil pH.

Bloom period

Plants bloom in early spring; March in the south but into early June in most northern areas. In the wild, May through July is the normal blooming season.

Propagation

Seed or division is the standard ways to propagate mountain buttercup.

Seed

Seeds are short-lived and must be sown fresh for best results. Seeds require a winter stratification period. GA will greatly improve germination, especially on older seed.

Division

This is the easiest and quickest way to propagate mountain buttercup. Plants may be dug and easily divided (they often fall apart into several pieces) just after flowering.

Cuttings

Not generally done as plants are stemless.