It would be difficult not to notice the most widely available type of primula at this time of the year, Primula Acaulis, the primrose. The extensive range of colours of this winter and spring flowering favourite is difficult to resist as dull winter gardens and containers can be instantly transformed by the addition of some of these little stunners.
But let’s not just restrict Primulas to the garden. Primula Acaulis will make a very pleasing splash of colour and perfume for your cooler areas indoors too. If you have a bright entrance porch or cool conservatory, primroses will thrive quite happily in there for several weeks and then you can plant them out in the garden after flowering. They can look great if you plant several together in an attractive container. Do remember to deadhead regularly to prolong the flowering period.
For indoor use, but again in bright, cool conditions, try Primula Obconica. Although this type is often referred to as the “poison primrose”, due to the fact that the tiny hairs on the leaves can cause a rash on sensitive skins, the ones produced now are more likely to have had the hairiness bred out of them. Look out for the varieties labelled as “Touch Me” and there should not be a problem. Plants can be kept after flowering by re-potting them and moving them into a lightly shaded spot for the summer. Keep them on the dry side, resuming normal watering in the autumn.
A variety that seems to have lost its popularity is Primula Malacoides, the “fairy primrose”, which is a shame as it is a beautiful little Primula with loads of tiny delicate flowers displayed on short stems above the pale green foliage.
If you like to start from scratch plant primula seeds in early summer.