Among the most familiar and diverse of spring-flowering perennials, there are lots of fantastic primulas at the show. Given the right care and conditions, these plants are long-lived and rewarding. See below for just a few of those available to buy at the show and plant this weekend.
Primula ‘Strong Beer’
Bearing heads of double, rich violet-purple flowers on stems to 15cm (6in) high, above bronzy, virtually-evergreen foliage, this fine perennial makes a good choice for soil that does not get too dry in semi-shade, where it will slowly build into small clumps. The charming flowers are produced throughout spring and the plant proves strong growing. Shown by John Cullen Gardens.
A tiny alpine species of primula reaching no more than 5cm (2in) high with delightful little pink, yellow-centred flowers in spring, and tiny, glossy, dark green leaves. This plant makes a good choice for a rock garden or trough, forming a small clump in a well-drained soil that does not dry out, in a place in full sun. It comes from Tibet and Yunnan. Shown by Plantbase.
A charming and popular perennial primula, ideal for woodland conditions or a border in semi-shade. This plant is grown for its heads of yellow-centred, soft pink flowers, carried on reddish stems above reddish-bronze foliage, in time building to form clumps. Shown by Plantbase.
Primula Gold-laced Group
Striking, clump-forming primula for a place in well-drained but moist soil, perhaps in a semi-shaded border or below deciduous trees and shrubs. In spring, this perennial produces masses of charming near-black, yellow-marked flowers on low stems, held above rosettes of green foliage. Shown by Plantbase.
Primula × forsteri ‘Bileckii’
Another delightful, diminutive primula producing white-eyed, purple flowers which are large in comparison to the tiny rosettes of toothed green leaves. A good plant for alpine situations, perhaps in a trough or for use as a crevice plant in a semi-shaded site, where it will eventually form a low mound of growth. Shown by Ice Alpines.
Primula Belarina Amethyst Ice (‘Kerbelpicotee’)
Lovely double-flowered primrose producing large, purple-blue flowers, emerging from leafy calyxes. The flower petals are edged with white, creating an attractive two-tone effect. Proves perennial in a moist, well-drained position in the garden or in a container, out of hot sun. Shown by Staddon Farm Nurseries.
These delightful plants are ideal for moist, cool woodland conditions or in a lightly-shaded border. They produce clusters of showy, exotic flowers, held above rosettes of downy leaves. Native to north-eastern Asia, they are popular garden plants in Japan and a wide range of hybrids are avilable in colours from white to intense purple, such as P. sieboldii ‘Yuuhibeni' (pictured) with its large, single, drooping violet blooms. Plants may become dormant in summer, especially in a dry season. Shown by Staddon Farm Nurseries.
Primula japonica ‘Miller’s Crimson’
A popular so-called candelabra primula for a moist position, ideally in some sun, perhaps beside a stream or pond. This perennial produces rosettes of green foliage and in spring and early summer, with sturdy stems to 45cm (18in) tall, holding showy whorls of brick-red flowers. Easy to grow given the correct conditions. Shown by Hillview Hardy Plants.
A curious, polyanthus-type primula, producing heads of ruffled yellow-centred green flowers, held on low stalks above rosettes of green foliage. This plant is easy to grow, given a soil that does not dry out and some protection from the hottest summer sun. The flowers prove astonishingly long-lasting and enduring in beauty for up to 2 months. Shown by Hillview Hardy Plants.