PRIMULUS – cherry

This large group has many attractive ornamental trees and shrubs. The shrubs are grown for their flowers and fruits and the trees mainly for their flowers and foliage. Some are evergreen but most are deciduous.

Suitable site and soil. Generally, these plants do well in all except water-logged soil, but prefer a well-cultivated soil with a reasonable lime content. All like a sunny position and early-flowering varieties prefer a sheltered site.

Cultivation and care. Deciduous species grown as hedges or shrubs may need a trim with secateurs after they have flowered in spring.

Propagation. Deciduous species can be grown from seed in autumn while evergreens are increased by cuttings in summer.

Recommended varieties. The evergreen shrub P. laurocera-sus (cherry laurel) makes a fabulous hedge or screen. It grows to about 6m – 20ft high by 10m – 30ft wide and has leaves that are shiny above; it produces white flowers in the spring and the cherry-like fruits. The deciduous tree P. persica (peach), which grows to 4.6m – 15ft high by 6m – 20ft wide, comes in many varieties; one is P.p. ‘Klara Mayer’ which has vibrant pink flowers in spring. A good flowering cherry is the deciduous tree, P. ‘Accolade’, which has pale pink flowers in spring and leaves that turn bright red in the autumn.

Pests and diseases. Birds may eat flower buds and aphids and caterpillars attack leaves. These plants are also prone to fungal diseases.

FLOWERS FROM A TREE

The bright and beautiful flowers of Prunus – often growing from bare woody stems – provide dramatic structural components in cut flower displays when artfully arranged.

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