Grow­ing the per­fect prim­u­las

Rossendale Free Press - - Leisure -

THESE pint-sized beau­ties are cur­rently ev­ery­where, in win­dow boxes and con­tain­ers, or pok­ing out at the front of bor­ders and in wood­lands.

There are so many dif­fer­ent types, it’s dif­fi­cult to choose which ones to go for. There are taller va­ri­eties such as the lol­lipop-shaped flow­ers of Prim­ula den­tic­u­lata, which come out a bit later, or the tra­di­tional, more fa­mil­iar types such as prim­rose and cowslip.

They are re­ally easy to grow, flour­ish­ing in vir­tu­ally any sit­u­a­tion pro­vided they are planted in rich soil, although cowslips favour free-drain­ing soil and the Asi­atic types pro­vide a riot of colour in heavy soil.

They look more like minia­ture red hot pok­ers, but Prim­ula vi­alii have un­usual flower spikes with light pur­ple flow­ers open­ing from the red buds at the base first. These up­right beau­ties pre­fer acidic soil in damp lo­ca­tions.

Dig over a bor­der, in­cor­po­rat­ing plenty of or­ganic mat­ter and if the soil is re­ally heavy, add some hor­ti­cul­tural grit.

If you didn’t plant your bulbs in au­tumn you can buy them in con­tain­ers now ready for plant­ing as they are about to come into flower.

Fill in gaps with bed­ding pan­sies and prim­u­las and keep ev­ery­thing well wa­tered ini­tially un­til they are es­tab­lished, dead­head­ing reg­u­larly as the flow­ers fade.

If you want to go for slightly taller can­de­labra prim­roses, put them with meconop­sis or aza­leas, where the soil is also suit­able, or let the el­e­gant flow­ers add colour­ful high­lights to clumps of hostas.

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