Primroses are charming flowers that you can fall in love with at first sight. The passion for primrose, usually starting with one or two random plants, often turns into a true passion, prompting the grower to replenish his collection every year. After all, the world of these flowers is so diverse and amazing!
Assortment of species and varieties: how to choose?
Among the primroses, there are very simple, unpretentious species and demanding, requiring special conditions and careful care. At the same time, in terms of beauty and durability, picky shy women are in no way inferior to their more capricious relatives and often surpass them, so it’s worth starting acquaintance with primroses from plants that do not need burdensome care. Moreover, there are many of them: common primrose, or stemless (and numerous hybrids based on it); high primrose (and its various varieties); primrose finely toothed; ear primrose, or auricula.
As you gain experience and become established in your love for these flowers, you may want to grow more exotic varieties as well. In this case, it must be taken into account that their requirements for conditions and care sometimes differ significantly from the requests of unpretentious primroses. So, for example, the extravagant primrose Vialya, or orchid, whose spike-shaped inflorescences bear little resemblance to the usual flowers of primroses, in a temperate climate may need shelter for the winter, and in colder regions, it may freeze completely. The capitate primrose also winters poorly – another summer-flowering species with an unusual shape of inflorescences.
Small primrose – a charming alpine dwarf – does not tolerate waterlogging and feels great in rocky gardens, and Florinda’s primrose needs water and grows best on wet, even swampy lowlands.
Where to plant primrose and how to care for it
As it has probably already become apparent, the conditions necessary for a primrose are largely determined by its botanical appearance. Given the diversity, it is customary to group these plants into groups according to growing requirements; there are 6 such groups in total. However, an amateur grower hardly needs to go into details – this is rather the lot of collectors. Usually, the primroses that adorn our country gardens are willingly content with the simplest conditions. Most primroses are most comfortable in partial shade – plant them under trees and shrubs that will cover the flower garden from the scorching sun. When planting in an open area, be sure to mulch the soil well to conserve moisture and take care of regular watering: popular species of this plant react painfully to drought.
Ear primroses are relatively resistant to moisture deficiency; fine-toothed ones do not like waterlogging (rot), but they also cannot be overdried. The soil at the planting site should be loose, with a high content of nutrients. Ear primroses prefer alkaline soil (apply ash when planting and add it if necessary), the rest of the common species grow well on loamy soils with a neutral or slightly acidic soil reaction on moisture-intensive peaty soils.
For good flowering, feed the primroses in the spring with a solution of complex fertilizer. Top dressing during the season – as needed. Mulching the soil around the plants with compost or humus can do a good job – this is both an additional source of nutrition and protection from drying out. Avoid top organic dressings in late summer and autumn – they can stimulate growth and weaken the winter hardiness of plants. Primroses usually do not need shelter for the winter, but it will not be superfluous to spread the spruce branches at the landing site – this is both snow retention and protection from rodents. In the cold season, mice often damage rosettes of leaves wintering under snow and sometimes even completely destroy plants. In the spring, be sure to check your flower beds and add soil if necessary.
One of the common problems that can lead to early aging and death of primroses is the bulging of the rhizome, which, as it were, rises above the soil surface. If the bulging is strong, and the situation cannot be corrected by adding soil, the plant can be transplanted by combining this procedure with dividing the bush. It is widely believed that primroses in the garden are short-lived, and their life span is no more than 2-3 years, however, with good care and the right choice of the planting site, they will delight you much longer. Overgrown bushes can and should be divided – this procedure is carried out every 3-5 years or as needed (primroses grow with different intensity – depending on the type and variety, conditions, and other factors). The division helps to propagate your favorite variety and rejuvenate the plant.
Primroses in garden design
Early blooming species and varieties of primroses are the decoration of spring flower beds, where they will make good company for daffodils, muscari, other spring-flowering bulbous and small-bulbous plants; brunneras, periwinkles, liverworts will successfully complement the composition. In summer, green primrose curtains are perfectly combined with ferns, daylilies, hostas, daisies, lobelia, and other decorative leafy and flowering plants that have similar requirements for growing conditions.
Place primroses in tree trunks (decorative and fruit), under shrubs, in the foreground of flower beds, and mixborders. You can use them for container plantings in the garden and on the balcony or terrace – but in this case, you need to take care of regular watering and top dressing.
For the winter, plants from containers should be planted in the ground or buried in a container in the garden to protect the root system from freezing. Some varieties, with good care, re-bloom in late August – early September and bloom until frost – place them next to colchicum, chrysanthemums, and other autumn-flowering plants to create attractive compositions in a withering garden. If you do not grow primrose yet, be sure to plant at least one, and you will surely love them for life.