Primula Plants

Primula capitataA fascinating range of Primulas include, primroses, cowslips, polyanthas and oxlips, many different flowers and species including primula vulgaris, veris and other easy care varieties. All are for sale in the UK from specialist Primula Nurseries.

Found widely across the northern hemisphere and also down into South America these are spring and summer flowering.

If you take the time to look after these wonderful plants then they will reward you with a wonderful display of flowers every spring and the first primulas begin to shoot up these colourful flowers your efforts will be rewarded.

Generally not difficult to grow and are much sought after, primula auricula, primula candleabra, auricula grandiflora, Primula 'Belarina' and primula vulgaris or 'native primrose' being very popular.

Most gardeners are familiar with Primula vulgaris, however species such as P.capitata (pictured top right) which is from Asia, with its drumstick flowers, and P. allionii which is from France and Italy are both very special in their own ways.

P. allionii (pictured below right) lives amongst the limestone rocks, in dark spots hidden away.

Primula allionii

Primula Care

We have a lot of questions about basic primula care, mostly relating to 'disappearing primulas'.

It needs to be understood that although primulas like moisture, they also like good drainage, and this is true both when growing in the ground as well as in containers.

In the UK we can have wet winters, and even wet springs and summers it is this moisture we need to control. If primulas stay wet over winter, they can simply rot.

The first step in looking after primulas is selecting a position that gets good light in the spring and dappled shade in summer, although in the UK we do not usually get the hot sun that will dry the soil and damage the plants.

Soil preparation is the second step, make sure the drainage is good and dig in some well rotted compost. In areas prone to wetness try lifting the garden bed a little to prevent the plants from rotting.

Make sure you provide fertiliser in the form of additional compost, worm castings or even a slow release type.

Species and growing conditions range as they are a varied group of plants including primrose, polyanthus and cowslip. With well over 400 primula species and literally 1000s of hybrids the variety is almost endless however basic care is the same.

Primula Problems

A major factor is becoming waterlogged, and thi s is not just related to waterlogged soil, it can also happen in pots and containers.

The problem with pots is that they retain most of the moisture in the bottom 1/3 of the pot itself. This may not seem a big issue, however over a long wet period, pots that are sitting on the ground, or any flat surface can have the drainage holes blocked, the water pushes fine materials down which settle in the drainage holes, they dry out and harden a little when the rain stops, and then the same thing happens when the rain starts, until the drainage holes block, and the pots get flooded. The primulas will then just rot away.

So lift your pots off the ground, and provide some shelter from those winter rains.

Primula Varieties

Primula Veris or 'Cowslip'Generally regarded as either a cottage garden favorite, or a display plant in the UK. With over 400 species of primula a general growing and easy care guide is to provide a moist, shady position, humus rich soil and don't let primulas dry out during summer.

Which varieties to buy ?

If you are looking for something really spectacular, the rare Primula vialli or 'Orchid Primrose' is worth seeking out at rare plant fairs, purple flowers in spikes, unusual.

Primula (primrose) plants and species for sale online in the UK

PENINSULA PRIMULAS - Tel: 02842772193
72 Ballyeasborough Road, Kircubbin, Co Down, BT22 1AD
A leading grower and supplier of authentic quality primulas and auriculas.

KENT COTTAGE PLANTS - Auricla & Primula
email -

BARNHAVEN PRIMROSES- Tel/Fax: 00 33 (2) 96 35 68 41
11 rue du pont blanc - 22310 - Plestin Les Grèves.
Mail order suppliers of hand-pollinated primula seed. From Brittany we send seeds worldwide and plants within France and Europe (outside Europe by special request). Incl. Primroses, Polyanthus, Asiatic primulas and Auriculas.

CRESCENT PLANTS - June Poole Tel/Fax: 01432 880262
Stoney Cross, Marden, Hereford, HR1 3EW

ABRIACHAN NURSERIES, 'The Garden on Loch Ness' - Tel/fax: 01463 861 232
Loch Ness Side Inverness IV3 8LA

KEVOCK GARDEN PLANTS - Telephone/Fax: 0131 454 0660
Postal Address: 16 Kevock Road, Lasswade, Midlothian EH18 1HT

SPECIAL PLANTS - Tel: 01225 891686
Greenways Lane, Cold Ashton, Chippenham, Wilts SN14 8LA

Flymoor Lane Rocklands Attleborough Norfolk NR 17 1BP

John Allman 




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