Sunday, October 3, 2010

PRIMROSES - "Primula"

PRIMROSES, or primula as they are also called, belong to a great family that contains many wonderful perennials for your garden beds.  While there are some real finicky primroses, probably left for experts, there are a number of easy-to-grow species that thrive with little care, which are able to grow in a number of sites--rich woodlands, shady borders, waterside areas and even rocky beds.  The name primulas actually means "first", meaning that they they are among the first plants to flower in the spring.  They have bell, or funnel-shaped flowers that are grouped in clusters.  The varieties that I like most, and ones that do well and are easy to grow are the drumstick primrose, cowslip primrose, and English primrose, the most popular One thing I really love about them is their clump of narrow, oval, corrugated leaves.  The reason why I'm writing about them now is that after they bloom in the spring--(even lasting into the early summer), they can start to look bedraggled by midsummer because of heat or humidity.  But, when cooler temperatures come along, like this time of year, they perk right up, even blooming again.  I have several that are blooming right now in the beds.  Their bright green puckered leaves, with flowers of bright colors of pinks, blues, yellows, reds, oranges, lavenders, and whites are welcome in spots around the yard.  They seldom need to be divided, but if they do become overcrowded and begin to lose their vigor, you can divide them in the late spring or early summer, after their flowers fade.  (I like to divide mine every 3-4 years, just to keep them as vigorous as possible). I deadhead mine, and it seems to prolong their bloom time.  They like evenly moist soil that is rich in organic matter, in shade to partial shade.  They are low growing, and make excellent edges on pathways, or in the front of perennial beds.   Keep them away, however, from concrete areas that might reflect heat.  If you want to propagate them, take 'crowns' from the outside of their clump--by doing this, you won't disturb the rest of the plant.  Slugs love primrose, so you might want to sprinkle a slug and snail bait around the clumps.  I have my primrose among hosta, bleeding heart, hellebore, ferns and lungworts.  Although they are a welcome site in spring, I love them this time of year, also!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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