Botanical name: Primula auricula
Common name: Auricula
These cheerful hardy perennials invite your attention. The curious markings on show and alpine auriculas deserve to be looked at close up so it's well worth the little extra effort needed to grow these gems. Border auriculas on the other hand, are more robust, putting up with the worst of winter weather, but they still attract the eye since you see them less often in gardens than their primrose relations.
Short flowering stems rise above thick-textured, sometimes suede-like leaves, bearing jewel-like flowers, often with contrasing centres and petal edges. Some appear to have been dusted with a fine powder known as ‘farina’.
All auriculas thrive in well-drained soil in a position shaded from any hot summer sun. In pots, use good quality compost with added grit. In the open ground, plant in neutral to alkaline (limey) well-drained soil in a slightly shaded position.
All but the border types dislike wet on their foliage so overwinter in the shelter of an unheated greenhouse or alpine house. In summer keep auriculas shaded, although, if there is enough moisture at their roots, the border types will tolerate sun.
Did you know?
Auriculas are often grown and displayed in ‘theatres’ – in matching small pots in rows on shelves so they can all be appreciated individually. They are often scented.
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