Ask a Question forum: primrose care

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Columbia, MO
Jan 21, 2018 5:42 PM CST
Hi I'm totally new to primrose. It's white with yellow in the middle (see picture attached). It's in a small plastic pot, about 3-4 inches. I live in mid-Missouri. Our last frost day is 4/10. Should I repot it to a slightly larger pot, say 6 in, and then transplant outside after last frost date? Or should I let it bloom once indoors and then transplant outside? How long do you usually wait before dividing the root? 1 year? 2 years? From the picture can you tell what type of primrose if the one I bought? Can it survive outdoor? I bought it al Aldi's and unfortunately it does not come with a label.

Thumb of 2018-01-21/sam153452/2b0632

Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
Jan 22, 2018 2:37 PM CST
Sam, that'd what can be called here a "florist's primrose"; formal name: Primula x polyantha ("x" = hybrid).

We see these for sale soon after Christmas, especially in grocery supermarket. We do have quite a number of primula in our garden. In the past, I have tried to hold these florist's primroses until the spring thaw, but found that few once planted in the garden survived long-term. On the other hand, of the few that did survive, we've had several for over 10 years.

My friend at Merlin's Hollow (major local garden) and myself have both found that white and blue florist's primroses survive (naturalized) in our gardens better than the other flower-coloured ones. Our own 10+ year ones are white.

Our survivors, along with our other Primula x polyantha (purchased in-flower from greenhouses in April or May; horticultural ones), are very winter hardy and are more or less green-under-the-snow. In the sunniest locations, they're the first spring plants to show bloom other than the earlier spring bulbs. They can be very long-lived. We've had some over twenty years.

They recommend, once established, division every 3 or 4 years. Upgrading the organic content of the soil when replanting does help. We do tend to watering in our garden and I do continually cut back taller summer and fall blooming perennials after their bloom, thus exposing our primulas and other spring-blooming perennials to lots of the fall sunlight during our long falls.

Example of happy horticultural Primula x polyantha last May 22, 2016.

Thumb of 2018-01-22/SunnyBorders/3fad52

Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
Jan 22, 2018 4:46 PM CST
Sam, a bit more.

Suspect it requires a growing season in the garden to successfully winterize florist's primroses, at least here.

Have usually been quite unsuccessful keeping the florist primroses in doors for several months.
They don't generally continue to bloom indoors and there's usually little to repot.
They tend to dwindle away, at least in my experience.
Could be they've been forced to bloom early in greenhouses.
Could be not a light enough location indoors.
I also assume that the peat-perlite mix they come in doesn't promote healthy long-term primula growth.
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Jan 23, 2018 10:30 AM CST
As a practical matter, Primula hybrids rarely re-bloom successfully indoors or out. They are sold at this time of year and most folks understand that they should be discarded after they have finished flowering. I know that is sad and disappointing and unfortunate that retailers fail to explain this to customers.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
Jan 23, 2018 12:21 PM CST
Some of the very few successes I've had planting out florist's primroses in previous years (image: May 9, 2016).

Thumb of 2018-01-23/SunnyBorders/c469a5

I believe that the longer they're kept indoors, the smaller the chance of success.

[Last edited by SunnyBorders - Jan 23, 2018 12:21 PM (+)]
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