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Primula - The Primrose is No Shy Wallflower

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Hybrid Primrose

Hybrid Primrose

Marie Iannotti

Name:

Latin Name: Primula

Common Name(s): Primrose

Overview/Description:

The Primrose is an unusually vivid spring blooming perennial flower. Unlike the subtle pastels associated with spring, primroses shout out in bold yellows, reds, pinks and blues. The flower stalks of primroses shoot up from low, ground-hugging rosettes of thick green leaves, staying in bloom for weeks.

Zone:

3 - 9, depending on species

Exposure:

Partial Shade. Can tolerate sun if cool and moist.

Mature Size:

6" - 30" H by 8" -30" W, depending on species

Bloom Period/Days to Harvest:

Early to mid-Spring

Design Suggestions:

Primroses will brighten and shady corner. They look especially good massed under a tree or in a rocky setting. Primroses are a good choice for the north side of a house or as an early spring ground cover under foundation shrubs.

Suggested Varieties:

Primula denticulata (Drumstick Primrose) - Grow about 1' high with a clustered ball of flowers atop a sturdy, upright stem. Good from seed.

Primula x polyantha (Modern hybrids) - There is a lot of variety in this grouping, but most of what you will find in local garden centers would be included here. Easy growing.

Cultural Requirements & Maintenance:

Being spring bloomers, primroses favor cool, moist, shady sites. Both P. japonica and P. denticulata can handle wet feet. They will require some shade and water during the heat of summer, which is why they are so often grown under trees. Primroses favor rich, slightly acidic soil.

Primroses are not suitable for USDA Zones above 9 and up because they require a winter chill to survive and bloom. When starting plants from seed, a temperature between 40 - 50 degrees F. Is required from sowing to first bloom. Division and self-sowing are the preferred means of propagating primroses.

Primroses are generally pest free. Occasionally spider mites can be a problem, especially when the plants are heat stressed. Primroses are also prone to a leaf spot disease, which manifests as brown lesions on yellowing leaves. Remove infected leaves and make sure your plants are getting adequate air circulation.

It is recommended that you purchase primroses while they are in bloom, to guarantee the flower color and style.

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