Planting Time: May (Established Plant, After Flowering)
Exposure: Part Sun, Shade from Midday Sun
Soil: Sandy Loam
Hardiness: Zone 4b
Bloom Time: April, May
Uses: Borders, Between Shrubs
In spring, nestled in amongst the stately bulbs, you find the cheery and sweet-faced Primula
unfolding in all the colours of the rainbow. The common name has many different interpretations.
One suggestion comes from its old English name, cuslyppe, from the words cu meaning cow
and slyppe meaning a slimy substance. One word of caution, some Primula must be mulched
over winter to ensure survival.
Primula grows best in neutral/slightly acid soil. They like a partially shaded position and large
quantities of organic matter. They will survive on thin, alkaline soils as annual bedding plants, if
you grow them in partial shade and incorporate as much humus as possible, but they will not
thrive or form fat clumps.
The ideal location for them would be on a slope under deciduous trees, or in a north-east facing
bed. Full sun, alternating freeze / thaw conditions, water logging in winter, or hot dry conditions in
summer will all stress the plants. If you get a lot of freezing, a loose covering of leaves or straw will
help. Dividing the plants every two or three years helps also, and is a must for the doubles. Divide
after flowering is finished. For best results, feed the plants with a weak solution of high potash or
tomato fertilizer every ten days from the time the buds start to form until the first flowers open. A
"thank you" feed when flowering ends is recommended, but don't feed late in the season and don't
use a high nitrogen fertilizer.