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Growing ranunculus from tubers

Wheaton, IL(Zone 5b)

Last summer, I saved the tubers from several ranunculus plants and overwintered them in my basement. I potted them up 3 days ago, and now I see mold growing on the surface of the soil. I used potting soil, wet it thoroughly and dug the tubers in. The soil is still moist, and cool. I've kept the pots on my kitchen table - didn't want to put them in the basement under the grow lights, as I'm dealing with fungus gnats there. Do I need to put them under lights? Or keep them warmer? Shall I do anything else to get rid of the mold?

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

I would check one of the tubers to see if rot has set in....and the soil needs to be warm in order to encourage the tuber to sprout. You may want to scrape away the mold, or if it is pervasive, repot your tubers.

Wheaton, IL(Zone 5b)

Thank you themoonhowl.

I did scrape off some of the surface mold and put dry potting soil on top. Yesterday, I dug up a couple of "bunches" of tubers, as I read they should be soaked before planting, which I did not do. Surprisingly, new roots were starting to grow, so some I just replanted and some I soaked to experiment. Today, 2 tiny shoots are coming up from one pot. :) I have a total of 5 pots, which are sitting in various windows. Too bad we haven't had much sunshine. Once more foliage emerges, I'll move them to the lights in the basement and hope the fungus gnats don't get them! Since this is my first year, I'm hoping to be successful with a couple.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

You can easily get rid of the gnats by sprinkling cinnamon on top of the soil. The plants don't mind, but the gnats do!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

You are welcome Elijablue. And as PFG suggested, cinnamon is very good at repelling fungus gnats. Do keep us posted as they progress.

Wheaton, IL(Zone 5b)

I have tried cinnamon sprinkled on top of the soil of my plants to get rid of the gnats, but perhaps I have not used enough of it, or else I have gnats that actually like it! I water with 4 oz of H2O2 per gallon, which I read was suppose to get rid of the gnats too. How much/often shall I use the cinnamon?

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I would suggest the mould is there due to over watering the soil, the soil should be just damp in no more and as the tubers become accustom to the new environment again after winter sleep, you can then increase water / feed or plant outdoors when the weather is right. I don't know IF the pots you have filled are sitting in water at the bottom, if they are, then remove the pots, allow the extra water to drain away, from then on stick your finger in the pot to check if more watering is required, if the soil is still damp, dont water, IF dry, give only enough water to keep the plants alive rather than flood them.
There will be products you can buy to get rid of the fungus, but to be honest, given enough natural light for a little while and less water would be the best way to go. Always try remember that any plant that has just came out of winter rest does not need a lot of water but just enough to swell out the tuber, bulb or roots, only after you see signs of REAL growth should you up the watering as the plant springs back into growth again, later on give a half strength feed if required for a first feed, increase as the season goes on.

The Fungus Gnats wont kill the plants at all, the only thing they could do is spread any other infections/ diseases is by moving from one plant to another IF there is any diseases, I feel sure it will be anytime now when your basement plants will be ready to get hardened off outside before final planting so these gnats will soon go off to pastures new.
Best of luck, WeeNel.

Wheaton, IL(Zone 5b)

Thanks WeeNel. I watered the potting soil mix thoroughly, let it drain, and then inserted the tubers. The pots were not sitting in water, but were moist and we had no sun, so the mold started to grow, and guess I panicked, since I've not grown ranunculus before. Now all the tubers are starting to sprout and we have had intermittent sun. I assume with new roots developing, the soil is drying somewhat. So, all appears to be well.

Regarding the fungus gnats, I have sprinkled some cinnamon over most of the pots in the basement. I will keep repeating after every watering and hopefully they will go away. I have various size pots, so something needs to be watered every couple days. I've tried to get on a regular schedule of watering only every week, but some plants in small pots just don't make it that long. I don't anticipate plants going outside for at least another month or so, but yes, then the problem will be gone.

Thanks again for all the great advice!


Wheaton, IL(Zone 5b)

My ranunculus were growing just fine, but several seemed to have "crashed" for no apparent reason. I have a total of 7 pots, 4 in a west-facing bedroom and 3 in an east-facing bedroom. Some from each room have gone down. All were watered the same, and room temps have been 70's, cooler at night. I have now moved the "crashed" ones to my basement under the lights, thinking that might help. Don't know what else to do. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I really don't want to lose them if I can do something to help now.

I'm attaching pictures of the "crashed" victims, as well as the healthy ones.

Thumbnail by Elijablue Thumbnail by Elijablue Thumbnail by Elijablue Thumbnail by Elijablue

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