Ranunculus flowers are a much-loved cut flower in floral arrangements and wedding bouquets. Also known as buttercups, these blooms definitely turn heads with their layer after layer of dainty, paper-thin petals. What’s more, Ranunculus flowers have a fascinating story to be told. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about ranunculus flower meaning, symbolism, their origins, myths, colors, and the best occasions to gift these beautiful blooms to friends, family, and loved ones.

Ultimate guide to Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Let’s dive straight in!

About Ranunculus Flowers 


Ranunculus refers to the entire Ranunculaceae botanical family. They are delicate flowers that originated from Central Asia and eventually reached Europe and other parts of the world.

Ranunculus – Etymological Meaning

This beautiful flower naturally grows as abundant as little frogs along streams, which is perhaps why it was named ‘ranunculus.’ The name is a combination of two Latin words, rana, meaning frog, and unculus, which translates to little. Thus, the name ranunculus means ‘little frogs.’

They are also known as buttercup, Persian buttercup, or Coyote eyes

Myths About Ranunculus Flowers 

The name Coyote eyes (sometimes called Coyote’s eyes) originated from the Native Americans. According to a legend, there was a bored coyote who took his eyes out, tossed them into the air, and caught them to entertain himself. While doing this, an eagle quickly plunged and stole the Coyote’s eyes mid-air. As a result, the blind Coyote roamed around the fields until it found a replacement for his lost eyes – which were two buttercup flowers.

But there’s another famed story. As claimed by a Persian legend, a beautiful nymph caught the heart of a young Persian prince. He sang to her night and day to express his admiration. However, for that reason, the other nymphs became so tired of listening to him sing, so they turned him into a ranunculus flower.

Another tale tells a different fate for that young Persian prince. The beautiful nymph rejected the prince. Because he could not endure the heartbreak, the prince died, and a giant ranunculus flower appeared in his place.

Ranunculus Flower Botanical Characteristics

Versatility is one of this flower’s strongest features. It offers a multitude of colors ranging from yellow to white, orange, red, pink, and purple blooms. Because of this, ranunculus is an appropriate gifting flower for ornamental purposes in the home and multiple celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations, among others.  

Ranunculus flowers usually bloom in the spring, but they can also be found throughout the summer or year-round, depending on the variety. Each flower grows about 3 to 5 cm in diameter, with colors ranging from white to red, pink, and yellow.

Persian buttercup (Ranunculus asiaticus) is perhaps the most popular and readily available cut flower variety of ranunculus. Native to southwestern Europe and Eastern Meditteranean region in southwest Asia, this particular variety flaunts dainty blooms with rosette-forming paper-thin petals.

Ranunculus Stems

Flowers aren’t the only ones that make this ornamental plant attractive. In addition to the fascinating blooms it offers, it also showcases wavy or curvy stems. These bending stems feature soft, fuzzy hair with each stem holding one to several flowers. 

Let’s talk about different types of florist-favorite ranunculus. Although the most common species is the Persian buttercup, there are still heaps of ranunculus types in the Ranunculaceae family that are just as great as a gifting flower. They are readily available in flower shops and flower delivery services across the globe.

But why are ranunculus flowers so popular? 

Buttercups or ranunculus radiate a kind of beauty that can be hard to resist, which is one of the many reasons why many flower enthusiasts adore them. The whimsical blooms are long-lasting and can be of different types. Ranunculus flowers can either be single form, double form, or frilled. Among these types, the most popular one for cut flowers is double form ranunculus. 

Ranunculus ‘Bloomingdale’

Ranunculus Flowers ‘Bloomingdale’

Perhaps one of the most stunning ranunculus varieties is the Bloomingdale ranunculus. It flaunts bowl-shaped and multi-layered blooms that closely resemble another spring-favorite flower – peonies. The colors available for this variety include yellow, golden shades, tangerine orange, pink, red, white, rose, and purple.

Ranunculus ‘Hanoi’

Also called Ranunculus Clooney Hanoi, this popular cultivar flaunts lovely soft pink and white blooms. Each flower is long-lasting and as beautiful as garden roses and peonies. It opens fully, revealing a green eye at the center. 

Ranunculus ‘Tango’

Ranunculus Flowers ‘Tango’

If you are looking for a buttercup flower that exudes nothing but elegance, then the Ranunculus ‘Tango’ can be your best option. A great alternative to red roses, these ranunculus blooms display layers after layers of ruby red paper-thin petals. Each flower shows a green center once fully bloomed. 

This flower is also known as Ranunculus Cloony Tango. It originated in the Netherlands. 

Ranunculus ‘Amandine Rose’

Ranunculus Flowers 'Amandine Rose'

Amandine Rose ranunculus is part of the R. asiaticus species that flaunts layers of ruffled petals in a pink hue. Because of its charming appeal, it has always been well-liked by florists and flower fans. The Ranunculus ‘Amandine Rose’ originated from Holland.

Ranunculus Flower Meaning and Symbolism

While most flowers represent a specific birth month, ranunculus does not. These flowers are not a birth flower for any particular month, which makes them suitable all year round. 

Although ranunculus flowers generally symbolize charm and attractiveness, they come in different colors that further give another meaning. Since these flowers offer lots of colors, they work well as a gifting flower for special occasions like birthdays, promotions, graduations, and anniversaries.

Pink Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Ranunculus flowers gifting

In the language of flowers, pink blooms hold several symbolic meanings such as love, romance, sympathy, and admiration. Since this symbolism works well with the meaning of ranunculus flowers, pink ranunculus blooms are the perfect gift for your special someone, close friend, or mother. 

  • Mother’s Day, Birthday, Anniversary, Housewarming, Just because

Orange Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Orange Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Is your friend or a family member having a bad week and in need of some pick-me-upper? Try sending her a fresh bouquet of orange ranunculus flowers to cheer her up and brighten her day. 

Orange blooms symbolize positive energy, joy, and happiness. And with the undeniable beauty of ranunculus flowers, you can quickly turn that not-so-good week into a good one. Also, radiant orange flowers make any area in a home brighter. Therefore, they make a great addition to home decorations.

Red Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Red Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Much like with red roses, a red ranunculus flower symbolizes passion, romantic love, and romance. Instead of giving her the usual red roses for romantic occasions, why don’t you give your wife or girlfriend a charming arrangement of red ranunculus flowers that she could not resist? 

These flowers are the perfect gift to express romance, love, and passion to your other half. They are a great gift, with or without a special occasion.

  • Wife’s or girlfriend’s birthday, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Just Because.

Yellow Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Yellow Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Like orange blooms, yellow ranunculus flowers symbolize joy and happiness primarily due to their vivid and cheerful hue. They are also a symbol of friendship and positivity. Gifting yellow ranunculus blooms is like bringing comfort and warmth to the recipient.

Moreover, yellow flowers, in general, are a popular choice of gifting flowers at the workplace.

  • Job promotion, Congratulations on a job well done, Get well soon wishes, Housewarmings

Purple Ranunculus flowers

Purple Ranunculus Flower Meaning

Purple ranunculus flowers symbolize royalty, beauty, charm, and elegance, while purple flowers, in general, signify creativity, grace, and refinement. Because of this association, purple ranunculus flowers are excellent gifting flowers for someone you value most in your life, or for someone you look up to and admire much.  

  • Birthday, Anniversary, To wish good luck, Just because

White Ranunculus Flower Meaning

White Ranunculus Flower Meaning

While ranunculus flowers conventionally mean charm, the white color adds just the right amount of elegance that makes these blooms even harder to resist. 

White ranunculus flowers symbolize elegance, pure love, innocence, and grace. An arrangement of pure white ranunculus blooms is a sure way to let someone special know how much you value her and your relationship.

Besides, these blooms are also magnificent as a gifting flower for grandparents, whether it’s their birthday or just to let them know that you appreciate them.

  • Wedding, Birthday, Anniversary, To wish good luck, Just because

Tips to consider when buying ranunculus flowers

Ranunculus flowers buying tips

Ranunculus flowers can be a lovely gifting flower and addition to anyone’s home. Keeping in mind these tips when buying ranunculus blooms could help make them maximize their vase life.

  • Check the petals. Make sure that there are no dried black ends or brown spots since these signs indicate an unhealthy plant.
  • Inspect the stems. Select flowers with a firm stem and avoid those that show damage. 
  • Look for buds that have not fully bloomed yet. Flowers that have bloomed already will most likely not last quite long once you take them home. 

What Other Flowers Go Well With Ranunculus? 

Ranunculus flowers work well on their own or as an accent in a mixed bouquet or vase.  For a ranunculus flower arrangement, you can mix several colors of flowers in a single bouquet. You can also throw in other colorful flowers like statice, tulip, peony, anemone, and dahlia

Ranunculus Flower Care and Handling

How to Care for Ranunculus Flowers

Now that you are more familiar with ranunculus flowers let’s talk about ranunculus flower care tips.

Like any other cut flower, the beauty of buttercups deserves proper care and maintenance. However, these blooms require a bit more attention because of their delicate, paper-thin petals. Following these tips would help your ranunculus flowers last 7 to 10 days

Unwrapping Ranunculus Blooms

Do not be alarmed when you receive your flowers slightly wilted and not in their best form. They just need some water, and they will recover in an instant. 

Be very careful when unwrapping your ranunculus blooms. Not only do they have delicate petals, but also hollow stems that can bend and crush easily. Typically, they come in a plastic sleeve or paper (to reduce moisture) wrapper. Carefully remove the wrap and gently loosen the intertwined stems. You can hold them upside down and lightly shake them loose.

Preparing the Vase

Ranunculus Flower Vase Arrangements

Prepare a clean vase and fill it with fresh and lukewarm water. Adding flower food is optional. Make sure that the water level is enough to submerge 3 to 4 inches of the stems.

Choose a vase or container that is big enough to support the stems of your flowers. Ideally, it should be at least ⅔ the length of the stems. If you cannot find one that’s tall enough, you can trim the stems down to suit your vase.

Ranunculus flowers require a little space as they open up. Therefore, ensure that the vase is big enough that the blooms are not fully packed.

Cutting the stems

Cutting the stems before arranging your flowers in a vase helps in water uptake and the prevention of bacteria build-up. Cut one inch off the bottom stem at a 45-degree angle using a pair of sharp scissors or shears. Additionally, snip off any leaf that will fall below the waterline. 

Arranging ranunculus flowers

Arrange your flowers in a vase how you see fit, but make sure that they have sufficient support and room to bloom. Then place the vase in a cool spot and avoid direct sunlight. However, you can put them in a sunnier spot for a short period if your ranunculus flowers have not quite bloomed yet.

Reconditioning ranunculus flowers every other day

For optimum performance of buttercup flowers, you should re-trim the stems, change the water, and add flower food every two days.

Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:

Looking for a particular stem or in need of some inspiration on the best blooms for a certain occasion? Check out Petal Republic’s expert guides to Roses, Crabapple Blossom, Bouvardia, Allium, Acanthus, Lilies, Irises, Tulips, Orchids, Carnations, Gerbera Daisies, Gladiolus, Bluebells, Camellia, Coreopsis, and Peonies.  

Contributing Editor | Full Bio | + posts

Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.

Author Madison Moulton

Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.

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