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The low down on primroses

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 5:06pm

Primroses have just arrived from our tunnels for 2019. They are low-growing flowers that bloom in the spring.

Naturally growing wild in ditches and shaded stone walls, these flowers like very well drained soil. If you look at a primrose growing wild, you will see it's tilted to the side, almost growing at an angle. This allows rain to run off it in very wet conditions.

It has survived in the wild this way for years and years, so obviously we need to copy these conditions to get the most from these plants.

As herbaceous perennials, they come in a variety of colours. Various primrose cultivars tolerate various temperatures and many types can grow well and bloom year after year here in the south with the right planting conditions.


Buy a good quality plant grown locally - you have no excuse! We grow the best quality primroses right here in our nursery in Dripsey. When planting, mix plenty of grit in with the soil, especially in the vicinity of the roots. Angle your plant so the excess rain runs off.

Feed with slow-release food and if you want your flowers to continue through to late spring, feed with Maxicrop seaweed food. This is the most amazing food I have ever used and I have being using this for 30 years. It gets a healthy root system going and just as importantly, it maintains this health throughout its lifetime. Maxicrop may be a little more expensive than other foods but the differences in quality and results are poles apart.

Most people bury their plants too deep in the ground and also too deep in pots and containers. Keep your primroses raised over the ground - this prevents leaves getting diseased and rotting. If you have yellow or rotting leaves, remove them straight away. Again, just have a look at how primroses are growing in ditches.

Double Primroses

Have you ever grown these beauties?

They are large double flowers resembling roses with a continuity of flowers that's enviable. These like the same growing conditions as the regular primroses, but they have a much stronger scent, which makes them even more attractive. If you want something different to give you that 'wow' effect at your front door, then look no further.

Double flowering primroses last longer than any other primrose!

How do we plant them? If we plant them upright, they won't have as good a chance of surviving, so simply copy nature and angle your primroses when you plant, putting lots of grit or stone underneath. This way of planting will ensure you get a long flowering period. If you love spring, then you will have to love primroses!

Primroses like spring sunshine but full-on summer sun is far too intense and drying for them. Place them under deciduous shrubs - viburnums, philadelphus and hazels, for instance - where spring sun penetrates the bare branches early in the year.

The intricate double and laced forms need to be seen at a raised height to be fully appreciated. They can be grown singly in pots and placed on staging in semi-shade. They can also be grown in containers with spring-flowering bulbs, heathers, ivies and with winter-flowering shrubs such as sarcococca and skimmia.


The primrose makes an excellent garden plant for a variety of garden situations, including the wild garden, orchards, hedge bottoms, under trees and in the front of the herbaceous border.

They appreciate light shading during the hottest months of the summer, which can be provided as taller herbaceous plants grow in early summer.

Primroses benefit from planting in a fertile, well-dug soil, and from frequent division.

If you have any gardening questions or would like help to design a garden, contact Griffins Garden Centre in Dripsey on 021-7334286.

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