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We love primulas of all kinds and grow many colours and varieties. There are wonderfully diverse plants and many flower for up to 10 months of the year with only a short time in summer resting and even then the evergreen leaves remain. One of our favourites is the polyanthas types as their flowers are strong and large so are one of the most showy, not to mention super easy.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Plantae

Clade: Tracheophytes Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primuloideae

Species: Many and varied including P. vulgaris (common primrose), P.auricula (auricula). P.veris (cowslips), P.elatior (oxlip)

Primulas are a genus of mainly perennial flowing plants in the family Primulaceae. Many people are familiar with the beautiful native primroses (P.Vulgaris) seen flowering along road verges.  Their pale lemon flowers herald spring and joy. One traditional variety popular especially in Victorian times is auriculas (P.Auricula).  These exquisite flowers are held aloft the leaves and are beautifully multicoloured due to extensive breeding.

Primulas are native to the temperate areas around the globe with nearly half of the species being from the Himalayas.  Habitats range from alpine slopes to boggy meadows, full sun to full shade so there will be one for every garden situation.

How to split primulas

Primulas in the flower bed

The primulas are looking magnificent in the flower bed bringing spring colour and joy.

You can divide primulas at litterally any time of year although most gardening information states spring or autumn to be best.

We have found that it doesn’t even matter whether the plants are flowering, they just want to live but standard advice would be to remove any flowers when replanting to give the plant a chance to grow roots rather than spend energy flowering.

Primula clump dug up

A single clump was dug up (its the one on the right of the above picure.

You can see that this one single plant now has many crowns to is ripe for splitting

Primula plant split into crowns

Shake the clump to remove some of the soil and gently pull apart into individual crowns.

Sometimes you need to twist or cut apart but as long as each crown has its own roots, it will grow.

Cut off the outer tatty leaves and trim the roots if necessary (just to make it easier to replant).

Primula crown planted in ground

Plant each crown into its new home and water in.

This plant was put back into the space that the clump was originally taken from.

Don’t worry it wont be long before it refills the space!

Primulas in biodegradable pots

If you don’t have the space to plant straight back into the ground or decorative containers each crown can be potted into individual small biodegradable pots and left to develop.

Primula offset in biodegradable pot showing grown roots

After only a short time of a few weeks, the new roots are growing strongly and are now showing through the biodegradable pots.

Although the pot is starting to degrade (it has been left outside to the elements) it is still doing its job and can be planted on without further root disturbanced.

Red primula with yellow centre

The plants in the biodegradable pots were then put into a hanging basket when it became nearly empty. Such a cheery sight through the kitchen window!