Primula – Alpines and Pot Plants

Primula – Alpines and Pot Plants

Primula is a genus with over 500 species and numerous hybrids, divided into 30+ sections.

Primula seiboldii blue japan

Primulas all have flowers with 5 rounded petals like our own primrose Primula vulgaris. The cowslips, Primula elatior, flowers in simple umbels and the candelabras in rising tiers of umbels.

Primula 'E L Bolton'

European Primulas

  • These plant s are hardy and most will succeed in any well drained gritty soil with plenty of humus.
  • All are spring flowering except Primula auricula, marginata, rubra and viscosa.
  • Although most like an open sunny position care must be taken to avoid drying out in too much sunshine.
  • With only a few exceptions the Primulas tolerate or even welcome lime.
  • Some varieties die back to a resting bud during summer.

Primula allianii Joan Hughes

Asiatic Primulas

  • Many of the candelabras are Asiatic in origin and grow strongly often  reaching 18-24″ tall.
  • In addition to well drained gritty soil with plenty of humus, they like a cool half shady position.
  • These Primulas tend to grow well in the north of England and Scotland.
  • The rosette forming plants are beautiful but some of the smaller species have exacting requirements.
  • The need to cover some rosettes through winter make these Primulas good alpine house plants.

Primula Hirstwood Midnight

American Primulas

  • North America is the third region  for wild Primulas and the sparsest for varieties.
  • Primula angustifolia from the Rocky Mountains is small and mat forming. They are very suitable for pots in the alpine house.
  • Pans of Primula ellisiae need plenty of water during the growing season.
  • Primula suffrutescens is almost shrubby but is not hard to grow in sandy scree.

Small alpine house primula

Links and Resources


Book Cover

Primula A J Richards

Auriculas for Everyone
Mary A. Robinson.
GMC Publications.
ISBN 1-86108-149-9
£14.50 plus £2.50 p&p

G.Baker & P.Ward
B.T.Batsford Ltd.
ISBN 0-7134-7366-5

Book Cover

The Auricula: History, Cultivation and Varieties Allan Guest

Auriculas – Their Care and Cultivation
B.Hyatt Cassell, London.
ISBN 0-304-34070-7

See also Vitaliane primuliflora

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