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House Plant Index

Primula species

Flowers January-April
Potting or re-potting time September or when necessary
Position in garden during summer Covered, ventilated cold frame
Potting Mixture 4

Of the 300 or more members of the family Primulaceae, 3 are particularly suited to the window garden, principally because their period of bloom is early enough to provide winter flowers.

The fairy primrose, Primula malacoides, has loose clusters of small, delicate flowers borne on thin stems, which tower above the slightly hairy leaves. Colors are shades of lilac and pink.

Primula obconica has large, oval green leaves and numerous clusters of pink and lilac flowers, which are much larger than those of the fairy primrose. Hairs on the leaves are sometimes irritating to tender hands.

The Chinese primrose, Primula sinensis, is probably the most attractive plant of the three. Its numerous, lobed leaves have toothed margins and are covered with short hairs. Large umbels of flowers, with prominent, contrasting eyes, are white, through shades of pink, to deep rose.

The primula species here listed are almost insatiable when it comes to watering. Place the pots in deep saucers of pebbles and water copiously from the bottom every day. Do not get water on the foliage. Keep primroses away from direct sun, and grow them in a cool, moist atmosphere.

The tender primroses are quite difficult to carry over the summer, and it is usually better to purchase new plantseach fall. If you wish to experiment with carrying them over, summer the plants in a shaded cold frame, with the sash raised 4 or 5 inches to allow for plenty of fresh air. Do not let the plants dries out-even for an hour. If the primroses look promising in early September, re-pot them in new soil; take them back into the house, and cross your fingers!