Creeping buttercups have a delightful presence. Their long stalks and numerous yellow flowers can give your garden a wind-swept meadow atmosphere. With the correct care, this plant can provide you with months of sunny beauty. However, there is a caveat. These flowers require a level of supervision to prevent them from turning into a rampant weed!
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Origins and Appearance
The plant is native to Europe, Africa, western and northern Asia, the Azores, and the Madeira Islands.
The slow-growing buttercup earned its name because of one distinctive feature – the plethora of creeping runners. The plant uses these vine-like tendrils to propagate itself. You will often see several runners spreading out from a large buttercup plant and starting new baby plants around it.
Stems can reach one foot tall. Sprouting from the stem are dark green leaves that are divided into toothed leaflets. From March to August, the plant is truly lovely. During this period flowers appear in abundance. They are glossy, bright yellow blooms with up to 10 petals (although the average you can expect is 5!).
Despite their beauty, creeping buttercups are seen as an invasive species in some parts of the world. They can quickly overrun meadows, gardens and grazing fields. That being said, this aggressive growth and resistant qualities make the creeping buttercup a great choice if you are looking to cover a piece of barren land with an attractive, low-growing plant that can handle tough conditions.
By now, you already know that this buttercup species is a tough cookie! Most of the time, when it comes to temperature, you can also expect low maintenance. However, while this is a hardy outdoors plant that does not always require coddling, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Seedlings Need Love
If you want a healthy crop of buttercups year after year, the seedlings need special attention. Keep the soil’s temperature between 50-55°F/10-13°C (at the very least) and they will reward you with healthy, lush adult plants.
2. The Right Warmth for More Flowers
Can’t get enough of these pretty blooms? There is a way to help your plant to produce more flowers. Creeping buttercups tend to flower more when they are held in areas where the temperatures can reach between 55-60°F/13-15°C (during the day) and 40-50°F/4-10°C (during the night).
3. There is a Harmful Low
Anything below 50°F/10°C will cause the plants to become stringy or dormant. There will be no flowers and the plant will look really unattractive and even unhealthy. Creeping buttercups adore sunlight and will do poorly when you place it in a low-light or chilly location.
Watering and Feeding
A patch of creeping buttercups can survive in an area with mild to above average rain – without needing any additional watering from you. The only time when the plants need a helping hand is during dry times like drought or seriously hot days. A good watering will then put the magic back into their petals! Overwatering is also not recommended.
Feeding these buttercups are as easy as their watering needs. In most fields, creeping buttercups grow just fine without any form of fertilizer. But if you added your plants to your garden to cover a barren patch of land, work a general fertilizer into the soil in the spring. During the growing seasons, repeat once per month. This will ensure a lovely crop of blooms.
Soil and Repotting
Creeping buttercups like well-draining soil. Clay or other tightly-compacted soil is never a healthy choice for this hardy plant, which might not flourish to its full potential. If you are planning to keep a small plant as a pot plant, then any good-quality potting soil is a great choice. As long as it is well-draining, you can choose any bag at your local garden shop.
But if you are worried about when to re-pot your creeping buttercup, there is good news. This is a slow-growing plant that won’t need a bigger pot every other month! You will know when the time has arrived when one of two things happen.
As a rule, you need to re-pot your creeping buttercup once or twice a year. This is to replenish the nutrients of the soil. The second “reminder” to re-pot is when you notice that your plant has doubled in size, regardless of when last you re-potted it.
Get all the best tips on how to re-pot your house plants.
Pruning is an important part of caring for your creeping buttercup. Unlike most other plants, which primarily needs cutting back in order to stimulate growth, this plant has a different reason why you need to reach for the pruning scissors.
Creeping buttercups use their runners to spread and create new plants. This makes them immensely successful as a groundcover plant but when not properly controlled, this species can easily take over a large field – and it can certainly make short work of your garden!
You can keep your buttercup bed under control (or your pot plant) by removing these tubers when they appear. Packing mulch around the plants’ stems can also suppress their ability to spread like wildfire. You can also use a spade to cut off any runners that reach beyond the flower bed’s border.
Pests and Diseases
One reason why creeping buttercups make great groundcovers and house plants is the fact that they are mostly pest and disease-free. Very rarely, you might experience aphids or fungal issues. Nearly all problems that arise with buttercups are moisture-related. To be more exact, too much moisture.
Keep an eye on the plants to catch signs early on, prevent over-watering, and establish your creeping buttercups only in areas where there is not too much rain. If you live in a high-rain location, there is no reason why you cannot grow this lovely plant. Simply keep a few indoors in pots and place them in the sunniest room or window.
Q: Are Creeping Buttercups Safe Around Pets?
No, the creeping buttercup plant is considered toxic. Due to its presence in fields, this species is viewed as a pest by the owners of grazing animals. The plants contain compounds that can cause blisters of the skin, stomach troubles, and inflammation. When grazing animals develop a taste for creeping buttercups, they can also consume too much and actually die.
Q: Can I Grow Creeping Buttercups From Seeds?
Yes, you can grow creeping buttercups from seeds. However, the seeds of this species take weeks to sprout and the germination rate is also not always pleasing. For this reason, most gardeners prefer to propagate the plant with root division or by allowing the creepers to sprout new plants.
Q: Is The Creeping Buttercup Really a Weed?
Well, yes and no. When controlled, this species can make a lovely groundcover or house plant. Then one cannot truly call it a weed. But when allowed to spread unchecked, the buttercups turn into a problem. Indeed, it has such a knack for taking over fields and crops that these plants are officially listed as weeds in many countries.
Q: Will My Creeping Buttercup Harm My Other Plants?
Only when it is allowed to grow unchecked. A buttercup plant that is kept in a pot is not a problem in the least. But when they grow in the garden with no control measures, they tend to leach the potassium from the soil and this has detrimental effects on other plants. Creeping buttercups also tend to take over land meant for native species.
Q: I Removed All My Buttercups From The Garden. Why Are They Growing Again?
Under optimal conditions, creeper buttercup seeds can stay alive in the soil for as long as 80 years. This is probably why you are seeing new seedlings in an area where there was previously adult buttercup plants. Trying to find every single seed can be extremely difficult and very often, digging for them can encourage the ones you missed to germinate.
Q: How Can I Get Rid Of Creeping Buttercups Naturally?
There is, unfortunately, no known natural product or technique that can completely get rid of this robust plant and the hidden seeds. The best remaining option is to pull the plants out by hand whenever you see them appear. This is a time-consuming job – but really the only choice. Wear gloves when you perform this task as the plants produce a sap that can seriously irritate the skin.