Primula ‘Basics’

For convenience the thirty Sections can be grouped into four general types:

·  Asiatic primula

·  European primula

·  Vernales, the primroses of the meadows

·  Show and Exhibition plants

Asiatic primula

Often grow in spring run-off in the mountains, so they like lots of water in the spring

If they are happy, they will colonize by seeding

Can be quite tall – from one foot up to three feet

Like humus-rich moist soil


European primula

Classics found in the Alps:  P.hirsuta, P.marginata, the species P.auricula and its relatives

Generally like good drainage, so use lots of grit

Some of the small plants require specialized soil mixes and care in cultivation: P. minima, P.x pubescens, and P.allionii



This group includes the primroses and polyanthus of cultivation, also the hybrid Julianas

Likes good garden soil and does not like to dry out.

Many named cultivars, many hybrids

In cultivation for over four hundred years.


Show and Exhibition Plants

These are the hybrids.

The exhibition polyanthus is the gold-laced polyanthus.

There are seven classes of show and exhibition auriculas.

Exhibition Alpine auriculas are florists’ flowers and do not grow in the Alps.  They come in two types:

·         Gold-centred

·         Light-centred

Neither type has any meal (farina) on the leaves or flowers


Show auriculas come in two groups: Edged and Selfs

·         Edged show auriculas include green, grey, and white-edged

·         Selfs are show auriculas with centre paste and a single colour of petal

Show auriculas also include striped auriculas and fancies


There are strict rules governing the form of the flowers.  Auricula fanatics have hybridized these plants for over 350 years, so of course they developed rules and standards .

If you can’t abide by all the rules for show auriculas, grow garden auriculas.  They are charming and colourful, and can be found in a wide range of colours.  They do well in our drier Mediterranean Coastal area.


Maedythe Martin, Victoria, BC

2 thoughts on “Primula ‘Basics’

    1. Hi Mary, I’m not sure if you will automatically get this response or if anyone had previously answered your question. If you still have unanswered questions about growing mediums or anything else, please drop me a note at: and I will be happy to do what I can. – Dean Wiegert

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