Flower Fields of Carlsbad Review & Photos

Every year from March 1st to May 13th, 50 acres on the west side of Carlsbad come alive with the beauty of thousands of blooming Ranunculus flowers. It is an amazing view, seeing so many flowers blooming all in unison and one that I would recommend for both children and adults alike. I went this past weekend and was surprised I had not heard more about it in the past. It was at about 30% bloom, but based on the way the flowers grow I was told it never really gets more than 55%. Even at 30% it was a site to see. Check out the history, pictures and review below.

History of the Flower Fields

More than six decades ago, an English horticulturist named Luther Gage and his family left their native country of England to make a new home in Southern California. Prior to his immigration, Gage had taken a special interest in the beautiful ranunculus flower, and in particular, the giant strain of ranunculus now known as Giant Tecolote Ranunculus. This strong floral appreciation motivated Gage to bring a collection of seeds along on the journey, subsequently resulting in the first ranunculus flowers known to be planted in North America. In 1958 the flower fields were planted in Carlsbad, and they received the nickname the flower fields from residents of the area that drove by. Today, more than 150,000 people visit the fields each year, many of whom return year after year.

The Flowers

The Flower Fields website describes the them as follows – The type of flower planted here is called the Tecolote Giant Ranunculus, which is one of the finest strains of ranunculus plants in the world. The ranunculus flower is native to Asia Minor and is a member of the buttercup family. This unique blossom is also known as a Persian Buttercup or Ranunculus Asiatic.

The flowers themselves are found in a variety of colors ranging from white and yellow to rich purples and oranges. The fields are split into sections by color which gives you a unique view over the many different flowers that dot the hillside. I also thought it was interesting to see the way the flowers are pollinated effecting the color of the flower. In a section of white it was not odd to see another color standing out in the bunch. Check out some of the photos below.

It is also beautiful to see the ocean so close to the fields. If you are standing at the top photographing the flowers the ocean is directly over the windmill as you can see below. You can even make a full day out of it and head to the beach before or after looking at the flowers.

Other Attractions at the Flower Fields

If you get tired of walking around in the flower fields, there is plenty else to do with your admission ticket. There are greenhouses filled with other plants, things for the kids to do like mine for gold and play in the play ground and even lots of different types of food to enjoy. The main attraction other than the flowers though is the tractor rides, which give you a unique view of the rest of the fields.

There is also a large store with everything you need to start gardening your own plants, including the bulbs, the plants themselves and even cut versions of the plants. The cost was very reasonable for these as the planted plants and bulbs were around 6 dollars for 5 or 6 of the flowers.

Cost and Open Dates

The fields are open from the beginning of March to the middle or end of May and they cost around 11 dollars for an adults, but there are discounts for military, children and AAA members.

I would highly recommend a trip to the flower fields. There is something for every member of the family and I really enjoyed being able to see and photograph such a beautiful collection of flowers. Check out the rest of the photos and get directions below, let me know if you have been there as well in the comments.

Photo Gallery

Get Directions

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  • Cool – I’m taking my two sons next week during our Spring break. Nice to see some photos to know what we’re in store for. May try combining it with some nearby strawberry picking.

    • Thanks Debi, its a great place to visit, can’t wait to see your review!

  • No!!!! saw this a little late and it’s already May 24 🙁 Can’t wait til March now.

    • Yea I wish it was available all year, but put on your list for next year for sure!

  • Jo Guthrie

    Josh
    I just read your blog, as I’m researching some info on Luther Gage. Luther was not an English horticulturist, but was born in Colorado. He was a nurseryman in the LA area in the early 1900s, moving from there down to the Carlsbad/Oceanside area. He did indeed introduce the ranunculus to California from seeds he ordered from Europe. However, the giant tecolote ranunculus was actually developed in CA by Luther in the 1920s. Other than that, beautiful pictures! I’m a big fan of the Flower Fields, and Luther in particular.

    • Jo, thanks for the reply and for the information!