HARDY PERENNIALS: PRIMULA

Primulas fall roughly into two categories—those that need moisture rather than shade, and those for which shade is a pre-requisite. P. rosea ‘Delight’ has no objection to sun, provided soil does not become dry and it makes a brilliant display in April-May, with flowers coming before the leaves. It makes a good companion for the ‘Drumstick’ Primula, P. denticulata which has lavender, blue, white or pink rounded heads at much the same time but is a little taller at 12-15 inches. There are scores of other Primulas for moist positions, as well as for shade, where if soil is humus rich, dampness is less important. Amongst these ‘Woodlanders’ is the all too little known P. sieboldii. These form shallow rooting mats and bear open heads of flowers in April-May. P. ‘Geisha Girl’ is a fine pink variety, and P. ‘Snowflakes’ is undoubtedly the best white. They like leafy soil and can be increased by division in spring, and it helps to give a light coverage of peat or leaf mould during the October-February period, when they are completely dormant.

P. vulgaris, the well loved Primrose is the progenitor of many hybrids which are more adaptable than other Primulas. The best known of these is P. ‘Wandd. with its purple-red flowers, but there are many others in a variety of colours from white to pink, through to purple and red, and blue, as well as those nearer to the original light yellow. All these are best divided in autumn.

PRIMULA sieboldii 'Geisha Girl'

PRIMULA sieboldii ‘Geisha Girl’

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