Difference Wiki

Peonies vs. Ranunculus: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on March 2, 2024
Peonies are large, fragrant flowers with lush, full blooms; ranunculus are smaller, characterized by tightly layered petals and a wide color range.

Key Differences

Peonies are known for their large, often fragrant blooms that can range from white to pink to deep red. They are a popular choice in gardens and as cut flowers due to their lush, full appearance and sweet scent. Ranunculus, by contrast, offers smaller, but equally captivating flowers, distinguished by their tightly layered petals and a broader spectrum of colors, including vibrant yellows, oranges, and pastels.
Peonies thrive in temperate climates and bloom in late spring to early summer. They require cold winters to thrive and may live for decades, becoming more prolific over time. Ranunculus prefer milder winters and can often be grown as annuals in cooler climates, blooming in the spring.
In terms of care, peonies prefer well-drained soil and full to partial sun. Once established, they are relatively low maintenance but do require staking as their blooms can be heavy. Ranunculus bulbs, on the other hand, need to be planted in well-drained soil with full sun and may require more frequent watering and care to ensure a successful bloom.
Culturally, peonies have been a symbol of wealth, prosperity, and honor in many societies, particularly in China and Japan. Ranunculus, with their delicate appearance, are often associated with charm and attraction, making them a popular choice in wedding bouquets and arrangements.
Peonies, with their large size, are often used as statement pieces in floral arrangements or as garden centerpieces. Ranunculus, due to their smaller size and variety of colors, are versatile in both bouquets and as accents in garden designs, complementing other plants and flowers.

Comparison Chart


Large blooms
Smaller blooms

Bloom Time

Late spring to early summer


Cold winters needed
Mild winters preferred


Perennial, lives for decades
Often grown as annuals


Wealth, prosperity, honor
Charm, attraction

Use in Arrangements

Statement pieces
Versatile, used for accents

Peonies and Ranunculus Definitions


A symbol of wealth and prosperity in many cultures.
She decorated her home with peonies to bring good fortune.


Associated with charm and attraction in floral symbolism.
He gave her a bouquet of ranunculus to express his admiration.


Require cold winters to bloom and can live for decades.
Their peonies have thrived for over twenty years, becoming a springtime highlight.


Small flowers with tightly layered petals and a wide color range.
The ranunculus added vibrant colors to the spring garden.


Large, often fragrant flowers known for their full blooms and variety of colors.
The garden was full of blooming peonies, spreading a sweet fragrance.


Often grown as annuals in cooler climates, blooming in spring.
This year's ranunculus are the highlight of the spring garden.


Popular in weddings and bouquets for their lush appearance.
The bride's bouquet was composed of white peonies, symbolizing her happiness.


Require well-drained soil and full sun for best growth.
They planted the ranunculus bulbs in a sunny spot to ensure a colorful bloom.


Prefer well-drained soil and full to partial sun.
To ensure the peonies bloom, they planted them in a sunny spot with good drainage.


Popular in floral arrangements for their delicate appearance.
The wedding table was adorned with arrangements of pink and white ranunculus.


Any of various garden plants of the genus Paeonia, having large, variously colored flowers with numerous stamens and several pistils.


Any of numerous plants of the genus Ranunculus, having yellow or white usually five-petaled flowers, and including the buttercups and the crowfoots.


Plural of peony


Any plant of the genus Ranunculus; the buttercup or crowfoot.


A genus of herbs, mostly with yellow flowers, including crowfoot, buttercups, and the cultivated ranunculi (Ranunculus Asiaticus, Ranunculus aconitifolius, etc.) in which the flowers are double and of various colors.


Annual, biennial or perennial herbs: buttercup; crowfoot


When do ranunculus bloom?

Ranunculus typically bloom in spring.

What are peonies?

Peonies are fragrant, large flowers known for their lush blooms, popular in gardens and floral arrangements.

What are ranunculus?

Ranunculus are small, colorful flowers with tightly layered petals, often used in weddings and bouquets.

How long can peonies live?

Peonies can live for decades, with some plants known to last for over 100 years.

What soil is best for peonies?

Well-drained soil is ideal for peonies.

When do peonies bloom?

Peonies bloom in late spring to early summer.

Can ranunculus grow in cold climates?

Ranunculus can be grown in cold climates as annuals, with bulbs planted each year.

What symbolism do peonies hold?

Peonies symbolize wealth, prosperity, and honor.

Are peonies good for weddings?

Yes, peonies are a popular choice for weddings due to their lush, romantic appearance.

Are ranunculus good for weddings?

Yes, ranunculus are favored in weddings for their delicate beauty and variety of colors.

How do you care for peonies?

Peonies need well-drained soil, sun, and occasional feeding; they may require staking as the blooms are heavy.

How much sun do ranunculus need?

Ranunculus need full sun for best growth.

Are ranunculus annuals or perennials?

Ranunculus are often grown as annuals in cooler climates but can be perennials in milder regions.

Do peonies need a lot of sun?

Peonies thrive in full to partial sun.

Can peonies be grown in pots?

Peonies can be grown in pots, but they best thrive when planted in the ground.

Can ranunculus be grown in pots?

Yes, ranunculus can be successfully grown in pots with adequate drainage.

What soil is best for ranunculus?

Ranunculus prefer well-drained soil as well.

Can peonies grow in warm climates?

Peonies need cold winters to bloom properly, making them less suitable for very warm climates.

How do you care for ranunculus?

Plant ranunculus bulbs in well-drained soil and full sun, and keep them watered during the growing season.

What symbolism do ranunculus hold?

Ranunculus symbolize charm and attraction.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons