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Best uses

A fabulous little plant for winter colour in hanging baskets, pots, troughs and planters. Can be used as edging or ground cover around beds, or en mass planted to provide a big hit of colour. Planted en masse you can detect a slight floral scent also.

Physical characteristics

A small growing clump-forming perennial growing to 0.2m tall and 0.2m wide.

Flowers and foliage

This little perennial flowers its heart out from early winter to late spring. Flowers can range in colour from pure white to pink, red, blue, purple, yellow and orange or two-tone/bicoloured.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun to partial shade with well-drained soil.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown plants. These primula are normally available to purchase in early autumn through spring and are best planted outside after rain has occurred. If planting in pots and containers, planting can be done whenever you choose. Before planting, ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter bag or pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots and plant at the same level as in the container, firm in and water. Make sure plants are watered well until established if planting in a drier period outside. If planting in containers, they must be checked daily even if they are outside. If there is a lot of foliage present, the rain will not always get through adequately. Plant with some general slow-release fertiliser and then every spring apply an organic-based fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre as new growth begins.

Maintenance tips

Apply an organic mulch annually to help suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Feed annually in spring with a balanced fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre in spring as new growth begins. Spent flowers can be carefully removed either by hand or with snips to encourage the production of more buds and will lengthen the flowering period. Many people buy these bedding primula again new each year but they will overwinter as long as they don't get too wet and are placed in a cool position for the summer months. They can also be easily grown from seed. Large plants can also be carefully divided after flowering.

Pests and diseases

Mildew can be a problem once the weather warms up, botrytis (grey mould) can rot leaves and flowers off. Slugs and snails can eat flowers and buds.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Visitors Centre