Houseplant for the month of February 2015: Primulas are known as fun, colourful winter and spring plants for indoors and outdoors. Primula is also a diminutive of the word Primus and means ‘first’. The plant is therefore perfect to herald the spring.
The Primula obconica has long flower stems, the variety acaulis means ‘without stem’. The flowers of the Primula acaulis (this is a garden plant, like a violet) therefore have almost no stem, but sit directly on the leaf. The Primula obconica is available in red-white, blue-white, white, pink, dark orange, red, burgundy and blue.
The Primula can be found in many areas over the northern hemisphere, especially in mountainous areas. The plant can grow in damp meadows as well as 5,000 metres high in Himalayan forests. The wide range of bright colours to pastel tints and single or bi-coloured varieties, make the plant popular with many consumers.
What must you look out for when buying Primulas?
- Pot size, buds and maturity. When buying Primulas check especially the pot size, diameter and thickness of the plant, the number of flower buds and the maturity of the plant.
- Colour. The mixture of colours in a tray can also be of influence. Many cultivars are offered by colour.
- Health. It is important the Primulas have no pests or diseases. If the flowers or leaves are damaged this has often occurred in transport or storage.
- Ornamental value. Make sure that there are no dead flowers or yellow leaves on the plants.
- Mould. When there has been too much condensation between the leaves or on the flowers and for too long, Botrytis can emerge, a mould which will quickly and badly affect the decorative value of the plant.
- Lack of moisture. The plant can become limp by not having enough moisture. The Primula can recover quickly so giving it water is the solution.
Range of Primulas
The most well-known range of Primulas is the Primula Acaulis Group, also known as the Primula Vulgaris Group. This is a garden plant which is a perfect plant for the darker months, with its fresh colours. These include the Japanese Primasan, the pastel coloured ‘Cottage’ plants and the Marli Series, a double flowering Primula.
Another variety is the Primula obconica. The flowers are found on half ball shaped umbels on a longer stem. All Primula growers now grow the Primula obconica ‘Touch Me’. This breed is free of primine and therefore doesn’t cause itching. The older breeds are no longer grown.
A third variety is the Primula malacoides or the Fairy Primrose. This plant has a strong scent and the flowers are arranged in tiers around the flower stems. This Primula is grown in small volumes.
Care tips for consumers
Place the Primula in a light and cool position. Give it regular water and ensure that the root ball doesn’t dry out. If the flowers and leaves hang wilted, it’s time for a watering. Removal of the dead flowers will encourage the production of new flowers. Once the plant has finished flowering, the Primula can be planted in the ground outdoors. After a couple of months the Primula will flower again.
Creative tips for the Primula
Because of the different types and colours of the Primula, you can combine the plant nicely with other spring plants such as potted bulb products. This works indoors as well as outdoors. You can use colours such as red, white or yellow, which are appropriate for special seasons such as Christmas and Easter. A few Primulas together could be the colour accent in a sober interior. Source: BBH