The Primula group contains some of the best of all winter- and spring-flowering pot plants. The plants bear large numbers of flowers, clustered in the centre of the leaf rosette (the stalkless varieties) or on long, erect flower stems (the stalked varieties).
The Primrose and Polyanthus which grow in the garden make pretty pot plants – the blooms are large and colorful and after flowering they can be planted in the garden. It is usually the tender species which are grown indoors. The flowers are smaller and are borne on stalks. The Fairy Primrose is the daintiest, the Chinese Primrose has frilly leaves and flowers, and the Poison Primerose is the one not to touch if you have sensitive skin.
P. malacoides is the most popular of the tender types which are grown as temporary pot plants. The fragrant, small flowers in pink, white, purple or red are arranged in tiers on slender stalks.
Do not plant too deeply – the crown should be just above the compost surface. Keep your plant well-lit, free from draughts, away from heat and protected from direct sun. Remove dead flowers and feed regularly.
Secrets of success
Temperature: Cool – keep at 55-60*F during the flowering season.
Light: Maximum light, but protect from direct sunlight.
Water: Keep compost moist at all times during flowering season.
Care after flowering: Plant P. acaulis in the garden; other types are generally discarded. P. obconica and P. sinersis can be kept – repot and provide cool airy conditions in light shade throughout summer. Water very sparingly – in autumn remove yellowed leaves and resume normal watering.
P. acaulis (vulgaris)