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Plant Profile: Polyanthus Primrose (Primula hybrid)

A recent trip to a local dollar store resulted in the purchase of a bright yellow polyanthus primrose. How could I resist? Spring was in the air and the desire to begin the gardening year was running high. True, there are other plants blooming now, but not with the vivid colors and crinkly foliage that the polyanthus primrose offers. These primroses are just one of many different kinds that can be grown but they are easy to grow, inexpensive, and readily available in grocery stores as well as local nurseries and big box stores. The key to success is to find a site for them that is moist and provides shade during the summer to keep them cool. They may go dormant in summer so don’t give up hope if they disappear then. About the only thing you have to do for them is divide them every 3 years.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Bloom: Large umbels of single or double, often ruffled, 2” wide blossoms in bright and pastel shades are produced in early spring.

Foliage: Crinkled yellow-green leaves form a low growing rosette.

Size: 8’ H x 6” W.

Light: Sun with afternoon shade in warm climates.

Soil: Humus-rich, moist, well drained, slightly acidic.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8.

Care: Divide every 3 years.

Pests and Diseases: Slugs, spider mites, root rot in mild winters with excessive moisture; susceptible to anthracnose, leaf spot, rust, aphids, mealy bugs.

Propagation: Division in spring or late summer.

Companion plants: Deciduous trees, spring bulbs, azaleas, rhododendrons.

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