Primroses are beautiful perennial plants that bloom from early spring and can sometimes last into the early summer months. They form bright and colorful displays in a variety of vibrant colors, which gladden the heart on the dullest of days.
Colors include pinks, reds, yellows, whites, blues, purples and multi-coloured varieties. They grow well in partial shade, or in bright areas of sun. They team well with other spring flowers including snowdrops, daffodils, tulips, violas and hellebores.
The Primrose Genus
Primroses belong to the Primula family or genus. This family also includes the wild primrose, polyanthus and common cowslip.
Primroses grow well in containers, in herbaceous borders, in cottage gardens, by ponds and streams, in rock gardens or in woodland gardens. These flowers are good at attracting insects to the garden.
Bees can be seen readily gathering around the clusters of brightly coloured flowers to collect nectar.
These beautiful flowers range in size and those with taller stems can grow up to 12 inches in height. The ones with shorter stems and a more clumping formation tend to grow to between 3 to 6 inches in height.
Primroses also have many scented varieties, which people readily associate with the scent of springtime.
Caring for Primroses
They are hardy and reliable perennial plants, which are almost indestructible if planted in enriched, well-drained soil. Primroses can be grown from seeds. Prepare a seed tray or some small pots with good quality compost and sprinkle the seeds, lightly covering with a little more compost and firming gently. Keep well watered, but not waterlogged, through the germination period.
When the seedlings start to show true leaves in about a month’s time, transplant when they are large enough to hold without damaging the plants into individual pots filled with compost enriched with general fertilizer to give each plant a good start. When fully grown, these plants are best put into the ground in early autumn or spring. To prepare the ground for these plants, dig a hole that is sufficient to accommodate the whole undisturbed root system ensuring that the crown of the plant, i.e. where the leaves start to form, is just above the soil level. Fill the hole with the soil that has been removed and gently firm into position. Water well to ensure a good start and feed with a general fertiliser or a light sprinkling of potash. Read more information about growing mediums in out page about soil.
The primrose requires little attention apart from division every two or more years either in spring or at the end of the year. To divide the plants, simply separate a single crown, i.e. an individual mature plant, away gently from the clump to plant in a different spot. Primroses benefit from the removal of dead flowers with secateurs or scissors through the flowering season, which will encourage more flowers to come, and also the removal of any dead or yellow leaves from the plants which again encourages the plants to flourish and helps to prevent fungal attacks. These plants also like to be kept moist, so ensure that they are watered particularly during the drier summer months. These plants look great when planted on their own, with compatible springtime plants such as those mentioned above, or in clusters to form a carpet of exotic colour in springtime.
The varieties shown here are the Primula ‘Crescendo Blue Shades‘, the Primula ‘Crescendo Bright Red‘ and the Primula ‘Pacific Hybrids‘ – the English Primroses, which produce the most attractive and deep colours of any flower type.
These all have oval shaped, crinkled, deep green leaves and are all renowned for their vigorous spread and growth patterns. These plants can spread up to a foot and can be divided in future years, as described above, to provide interesting patterns and colourful shapes around other plants in the garden.
During the covid-19 period, in the UK, NHS rainbow patterns were planted using primroses in UK gardens because of the wide variety of available and appropriate colours and the ability of these great little plants to thrive and give cheer with little maintenance.
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