Flower farming and farming in general are about learning, experimenting, and improving from year to year. Mistakes and failures are a valuable part of the process. Some crops take years to get right for your climate, growing setup, and timing, but are well worth the effort. For me, it has taken a few years to be successful growing the universally popular ranunculus and anemone.
New growers often ask, “What have you learned that you would do differently in retrospect, and what advice would you give?” Answer: I wish I had not waited so long to attempt to grow ranunculus and anemones. When I started flower farming eight years ago, I didn’t have the confidence to try growing them because everything I heard or read described them as tricky crops best suited for advanced growers. I drooled over farmer posts of gorgeous bunches of anemone and ranunculus and got tired of telling customers that I didn’t grow them. So finally, three years ago I tiptoed into the world of corms. There are so many great resources now to walk you step by step through the growing process from soaking and pre-sprouting to planting in crates or in the ground and in tunnels depending on your situation. While I am still working on the best timing and the challenges of growing them outside in Minnesota, I learn more and have more success with these crops each year.
My advice is to start small until you get the process worked out, so order 20-40 corms so you can practice and experiment without investing too much money. The easy part of the process is soaking and pre-sprouting the corms. The more challenging aspect that may take a few years to get right is timing and finding the right environment with the ability to control the fluctuating temperatures during the spring months. While both crops like cool temperatures and tolerate 20s and 30s, the ideal range is about 40 to 50 degrees. Above 70 degrees will shut them down. For flexibility, I grew them in bulb crates the first two years so I could move them in and out of the garage as needed if the temps dropped below freezing (I don’t have a greenhouse). I am no longer willing to move 25 bulb crates for three months! Last year was my first attempt at growing ranunculus in the field and it was so much easier on my back. This year I will build a low tunnel and try to plant outside earlier.
Have you met anyone who does not love anemone and ranunculus? You don’t have to be an expert to grow them, but your customers will think you are an expert if you do, and you will sell every stem. Good luck!