Sometimes I have to purchase CA grown ranunculus from the wholesalers and almost every single time, the bunches of ranunculus are in tight bud form. No one wants a tight bud of ranunculus in their bouquets or arrangements... they want the signature fluffy and ruffled, full-bodied ranunculus bloom that everyone knows and loves. So how can we, as floral designers, help the ranunculus buds to open faster and show their ruffly petals?
First, you should know that ranunculus do not hold well in the cooler. So when you pick up your bunch of ranunculus, keep them stored out of the cooler in room temperature. Second, ranunculus are prone to rot and they have heavy heads on top of hollow stems so sometimes they will droop down. The best way to avoid rot is to keep the water shallow in your container and a good way to keep them upright is to wrap a paper sleeve semi- loosely around them, like you would a bouquet. You want it a little loose to allow space for their petals as they unfurl, but not too loose that you defeat the purpose of holding their stems up.
Now, the best and only fool proof way I've found to help ranunculus open faster is to re-cut their stems into warm water (not hot, just luke warm) with a little floral holding solution, and to do this often. As always, cut stems at an angle. It helps them take up water more efficiently. I re-cut my ranunculus stems in warm water 1- 2 times/day.
It is a labor of love, people, and sooo worth it.
Lastly, this is very important... Even with this treatment of re-cutting stems in warm water over and over while leaving them sit in room temperature, it takes days and days for them to begin to unfurl their petals. For this reason, I purchase my ranunculus at least 10 days before my event that I need them for. This gives them optimal time to open.
IF some of the buds open faster and show their ruffles well before I need to arrange with them, then I will put them back in the cooler; but first, making sure that kraft paper is wrapped loosely around their stems/heads to keep them upright in their bucket.
So there you have it. I actually find this process pretty enjoyable as I get to have ranunculus in my home for some time, watching them unfurl into their ruffly selves, before designing with them.