Star flowers Triteleia/ Ipheion and Ranunculus (Buttercups)


Today I just bought from dollar store these 2 bulbs. The label is saying I can plant them from Jan to May. Is that correct?
Also, are they perennial or annual? Can they survive winter of Toronto? Thank you very much



The two packages you purchased are a little different.

Star Flower Triteleia is also known as Ipheion uniflorum or Spring Starflower.  These bulbs produce small, star-shaped flowers in April and are native to South America.  In zones 5 through 9, they are perennial (therefore, they are perennial here in Toronto).   These flowers naturalize rapidly by bulb offsets and self-seeding and are considered one of the easiest bulbs to grow.  They go dormant by the end of spring.

Star Flowers are from the onion family, which explains the onion scent emitted when the foliage is bruised.  The flowers have a mild spicy fragrance.  The bulbs are typically planted between September and November, as they require a period of cold winter temperatures before blooming in the spring.

Ranunculus, also known as buttercups, are taller than Spring Starflower.  There are many varieties of ranunculus, with different growing requirements.  Since I am not certain which type of ranunculus you have purchased, I will assume here that it is Ranunculus asiaticus, which typically blooms from May to June and comes in a variety of colours.

These “bulbs” are actually tubers which resemble a miniature bunch of bananas in terms of shape.  They are perennial in zones 8 through 11.  Therefore, unfortunately in Toronto, they are treated as annuals.

Tubers should be planted 2 inches deep and 6-8 inches apart, with root claws pointing down, in spring several weeks before the last frost date indoors.  The plants can then be transplanted outdoors in mid to late April; ranunculus performs best in cool spring weather and go dormant by summer.

Good drainage, important for most bulbs, is absolutely critical for ranunculus.  Root rot will occur in wet, poorly drained soils.

One of the nice things about Ranunculus is that they rebloom when you cut them; therefore, deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom.

You may also like to refer to our Gardening Guide, which provides information on a variety of naturalizing bulbs:

Bulbs for Naturalizing: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

Happy spring!