Growing the perfect primulas
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.