Plant Family Guides: Primula - Primroses Plant-Family Guides
Lifting our spirits with their bright colors in the first months of the year, Primulas, also known as Primroses, belong to a huge genus of more than 430 species. Hardy, these cheerful perennials provide a wide range of sizes, shapes and come in almost every color imaginable. They range from tiny rock garden plants to statuesque candelabras.
Candelabra primulas are majestic perennial plants noted for their eye-catching flowers carried in numerous whorls up their strong stems, like a wedding cake. Very hardy and long lived, they enjoy a long flowering season extending from late spring to midsummer, depending on varieties. Clump forming, they grow up to 1-3 ft. tall (30-90 cm) and self-sow profusely, ensuring that your display continues year after year. They are happiest in bog gardens, near ponds and streams and grow well in damp shady borders. USDA Zones: 4-8.
Prized by horticulturists since Elizabethan times, Double Primroses have been cherished in English cottage gardens for centuries. How not to be bewitched by their beauty? Often fragrant, the multipetalled blossoms of these perennial plants resemble small roses and are available in a wide range of colors. Very floriferous thanks to their incredible number of buds (one single plant can produce a hundred blooms!), they enjoy a long flowering season extending from mid to late spring. Some cultivars even begin flowering in early spring, providing a long-lasting floral display. Whether planted in the garden border or in containers, they have the effect of stopping passers-by in their tracks. USDA Zones: 3-8
Hardy and exquisite, Border and Alpine Auriculas are vigorous, free-flowering primroses that are strong and sturdy enough to withstand most weather conditions and be grown in the garden. These evergreen perennial plants are incredibly diverse in size and come in almost every color imaginable. They grow up to 8 in. tall (20 cm) and usually enjoy a long flowering season extending from mid to late spring. They bloom for up to 3 months (in normal weather conditions) and sometimes flower again in the fall. They look terrific in containers, or planted in groups at the edge of borders, along paths or in rockeries. USDA Zones: 3-8
Blooming their hearts out for weeks and brightening the dullest days, Primroses and Polyanthus are some of the earliest flowering primulas, blooming from early to mid spring. These cheerful perennial plants are incredibly diverse in size and color and some are wonderfully scented. Their vibrant and colorful flowers are either borne on individual short stems among the leaves (Acaulis type) or carried in long-stalked umbels (Polyanthus type). Reflecting their popularity, there are thousands of cultivars available. Highly versatile, they are perfect for containers, window boxes, or planted in groups at the edge of borders, in rock gardens, woodland gardens, or by streams and ponds. USDA Zones: 4-8.
Since most Azaleas and Rhododendrons provide colorful interest in spring, choosing bulbs or perennials with fall and winter interest would enable you to enjoy appealing and long-lasting planting combinations.
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