How to grow Primulas

How to grow Primulas

Primula veris Primula candelabra 'beesiana' primula denticulata


Different Types of Primula 

Primula polyanthusPrimula are an easy to grow group of perennial plants which come in many different colours and shapes
. Many people thinking of Primula will think of the popular Polyanthus types illustrated left and in the 4th image, but in fact there are many different types and they make great garden plants.

Within the genus are the Polyanthus group (image left) is  the most common readily sold on line and in garden centres as winter and spring bedding.   It is easy to think of these plants just as bedding, but  there are some lovely perennial Primula which make great spring colour.

In the first image top left is the  Primrose group which includes Primular vulgaris, the lovely common primrose; there are also the  Candelabra varieties centre image, and top left denticulata which as it's name suggests looks like a 'drumstick'.  Candelabra are deciduous which means they die back in the winter, but they do return reliably each year for a great spring display. The polyanthus and primrose groups tend to be ever green, or semi evergreen.

Primula will grow in moist soil, and many of Candelabra are popular to grow by streams and in bog gardens and are also tolerate shade. Primula vulgaris, common name primrose looks lovely naturalising and a bank and will multiple over time. Some varieties of Primula vulgaris are scented and shade tolerant.  Primula candelabra 'harlow carr'Whilst many Primulas are low growing the popular Candelabra beesiana will grow up to 60cms and the variety 'Harlow Carr'  centre image and left has mixed tones of oranges and pinks.

Where to grow Primula 

Primulas are bright and cheerful and just ideal for a spring border. It is easy to grow Primulas, simply plant in dappled shade in soil tending towards the damp. If you have a wet area of semi-shade the Candelabra group are just  ideal.

Sometimes the leaves on Primula can get a bit discoloured, brown at the edges and removing these will do no harm, (provided it is only a few not too many as the plant needs leaves for photosynthesis,) and also dead heading will help to keep the plant flowering. 

primular veris the common primroseThe simple cowslip, Primular veris image left,  looks lovely in a natural setting and will colonise a bank forming clumps. It is a more a delicate, simple version of the more blousy cousins in the Primula family.

Primula mix well with many spring flowering plants, such as Allium and illustrated below with the hardy geranium 

Candelabra primula  with hardy geranium


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