It’s Primrose Time!

A wide range of primula varieties means colour for any shady spot in the garden.

Some types of primulas are cold-tolerant and make hardy perennials, while other varieties are a bit fussier and can be considered long-flowering annuals. They also make wonderful pot specimens that can be sheltered and protected from very cold. While we love the bright colours of Primula acaulis and the light fairy-like Primula malacoides, we have in the past talked about them often, so let’s see what else there is to brighten up a garden.

Primula obconica

These primroses have a completely different colour range from the other primroses and come is such lovely shades of salmon, purple-blue, white, orange, rose and magenta. They have a rounded shape with masses of flowers packed together on short stems. The bright green leaves form a mounded base from which the flower stalks pop out in the centre. They also make decorative houseplants. They like cool, shaded areas and should be planted in rich, well-draining soil. Water well and don’t let the soil dry out completely, but also avoid overwatering which could lead to root rot. Feed every 1-2 weeks with a balanced fertiliser during the active growing season and don’t feed during the dormant winter stage. Deadhead regularly to improve flowering and watch out for any pests like aphids and spider mites. Look out for ‘Libre’ and the ‘Original F1’ series in your local nursery.

NOTE: Primula obconica, also known as German primrose or poison primrose is known to produce toxic sap that could cause a skin irritation and needs to be handled with care. Keep away from children and pets.

Primula elatior

For bold early spring colour, Primula elatior is ideal for cool moist conditions with some shade. Series like ‘Piano’ produce striking large flowers in vibrant colours of deep blue, shocking pink, sunshine yellow and bright white with others a combination of colours, all with perfect yellow centres. They like rich soil that drains well, a good layer of mulch to keep the moisture content up, regular watering, but not too much to waterlog. They are fairly pest- and disease-free, needing only the occasional flower removal to encourage new blooms and occasional feeding in the growing season. They can be planted in early autumn as well.

READ MORE: Dive into a world of colour and learn more about Freddie’s favourites

Look out for

Petunia ‘Sophistica’ The colours of these grandiflora petunias can only be described as ‘designer’. The combination of ‘Blackberry’, ‘Lime’ and ‘Lime Bicolor’ is made for a pot of sophistication and style.


Plant violas now in every corner or black spot for instant colour that will last the whole spring season. The colours are magic and the plants sunny and trouble-free.

Pansy vs Viola, What’s the difference?

Apart from the fact that viola flowers are smaller than pansy flowers, a viola has two petals that point upwards and three petals down and a pansy has four petals that point upwards and one pointing down.

Brought to you by the Bedding Plant Growers Association (BPGA)

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