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The Beauty of Primroses

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Feb 27, 2017
The beauty of primroses

Spring for many gardeners is synonymous with two flowers in particular. Daffodils and primroses are two flowers that as soon as you mention spring everyone starts to think about. I know primroses have been on my mind for a few weeks now as the collection I have at home are coming into bloom now and are adding a great splash of colour to what were very bare flowerbeds in the garden.

I am a big fan of the double flowering varieties too. I have a miniature collection of them at the moment in my garden which all started with a gift of a plant from a neighbour. At the moment now I have around 16 different types of double flowering primroses planted in a flowerbed just underneath a young beech tree. This kind of position is actually the ideal place for primroses as they are a plant that enjoys partial shade and a rich humus filled soil. 

The name primrose comes from the Latin ‘Prima Rosa’ meaning First Rose. The name gives a good indication of the flowering time of this plant. Often primroses will flower from November right through to March (or slightly later depending on the variety). 

Primroses are great reliable plant for winter and spring because they flower for long and really require little maintenance two characteristics that are always important for customers that come into the CountryLife garden centre here. Primroses have been popular since the Victorian era and because of their reliability they have never really fallen out of fashion. 

Every year in the garden centre here we have a big demand for them to brighten up window boxes and pots for winter and spring. Of course primroses also work brilliantly planted in to flowerbeds where they can grow in to large clumps over a few years. The can also be divided when the flowers have finished meaning you can quickly grow your collection over a few growing seasons. 

Of the many different primroses we have in stock at the moment primula ‘Little Queen’ is proving very popular with customers. It has deep deep marron and yellow flowers with a gold edge to the petals. The flowers do look rather striking when planted up in a large pot with some folliage plants as a contrast. It is around for ages too often starting to flower in early spring and lasting well in to summer. Primula castilian is another great one in my books because of just how vibrant the flowers are. 

When you are looking for primroses in a garden centre there are two main types that you will find on sale, proper primroses and polyanthus primroses. Proper primroses are the traditional ones that are just like the wild varieties that you would find growing at the sides of roads or in woods. They have very short flowers and produce a compact plant. Polyanthus primroses on the other hand have much longer flower stalks and the flowers sit above the leaves. 

Many gardeners favour the polyanthus primroses, especially as the weather gets milder, as they are less likely to be affected with mold. As the flowers sit above the leaves more air can pass around them and this helps to prevent mold being an issue. For many it is often that bit easier to remove faded flowers from polyanthus primroses without damaging any underlying flower buds too.

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at:

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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