Ranunculus flowers are native to Asia Minor, and are a member of the buttercup family of flowers. They are commonly referred to as a Persion Buttercup or Ranunculus Asiaticus. The Tecolote Giant Ranunculus is the genera grown at The Flower Fields. This is one of the finest strains of ranunculus plants in the world. The planting cycle begins at The Flower Fields in the fall. The seeds take 2-3 weeks to germinate and 6 months to bloom. The single or double blooms are cup shaped and grow from 14 inches to 24 inches tall. When the flowers have faded and the plants die back, the bulbs are then harvested by machine. About 200,000 bulbs per acre are harvested, yielding a range of about 6-12 million bulbs per year. They are then air dried, sorted by size, and packaged for sale throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. Carlsbad is ideal for growing ranunculus, as this Southern California coastal region provides a mild winter climate, dry summers, and a well drained sandy soil. The ranunculus plants prefer moist soil and can tolerate sunny areas including partial shade. Their outdoor temperature range is 40-85 degrees F, requiring a decent amount of humidity as well.
The first person to grow ranunculus flowers in this region is Luther Ludlow Gage.He moved to Carlsbad in 1921. Several years later, he purchased seeds from England and began growing ranunculus in the nearby town of Oceanside. In 1933, Edwin Frazee received some seeds from Gage and began growing them for bulb sales. Frazee is credited with developing the multi-petalled ranunculus strain in the 1950's. Considered by many to be the father of The Flower Fields, Frazee also expanded from several colors of the ranunculus to the 16 colors that we have today.
The Carlsbad Ranch was bought by the Ecke family in 1951 and is being preserved through collaborative efforts for future generations to come. The Ecke's are well known for their poinsettias which are grown in nearby Encinitas, California at the world famous Ecke Ranch www.ecke.com