Primula – plant of the moment for March

Those of us who grow primulas already know how cheerful these bedding plants are at this time of year. They flower their hearts out for weeks on end and brighten up our outlook on even the dullest days. So it comes as no surprise that the Horticultural Trades Association’s (HTA) ‘Plant of the Moment’ for March is the primula.

New varieties are continually being bred offering outstanding garden performance with larger flowers and better resistance to the vagaries of our weather.

Many of us grow the popular single-coloured flowers but look out for bi-colours, double and rosebud types as well, plus wonderfully scented new varieties.

Boldly blocking primulas always look striking but you can also create impressive displays by combining them with other spring bedding, flowering bulbs and foliage plants. Pot grown plants in full flower are now available at garden centres, making them perfect for creating instant displays in your garden, in tubs, pots and on the patio.

Above:Cowslip in Flower (Primula-veris) ©Adam Pascoe Media

Top primulas for summer colour include:
Japanese Candelabra Primula (Primula japonica)
Chinese Candelabra Primula (Primula beesiana)
orange Bulley’s Candelabra Primula (Primula bulleyana)

Top tip
Cheeky sparrows and other birds sometimes peck at primroses, damaging their blooms. In my case its pheasants! It’s hard to stop these antics, especially with plants growing in borders, but try moving pots closer to the house to scare them away. Some people have noted that blue varieties often avoid their attentions.

Planting combinations
Here are some ideas of the flowers you could choose as companion plants for primulas and polyanthus.

•              Bedding Daisies (Bellis)
•              Bugle (Ajuga)
•              Daffodils and Narcissus
•              Forget-me-nots (Myosotis)

Picture credits: ©Adam Pascoe: