Primula marginata

One of the earliest Primula species to bloom in the spring is Primula marginata. This species was described in 1792 from garden grown plants collected from the wild in 1781. In the wild, it almost always grows on limestone, on mossy or grassy ledges on steep cliffs, boulders or slopes or from crevices, usually on the north side. Probably the most striking feature of this species is the irregular leaf edges lined with farina and the variation in this feature is what endears it to gardeners. Named and selected forms vary in the leaves and also in the bluish tone and size of the purple flowers. It is amazing that in the wild so many variants grow side-by-side.

Like other members of the Auricula Section, the plant produces elongated stems as the lower leaves die and new leaves are produced from the growth point. The plant will produce side branches along this lengthening stem and if the stem or side branches are underground or in contact with the soil, roots will be produced, making it a simple process to encourage the plants to make viable offshoots that are easily detached from the mother plant. In the garden, floppy plants with long stems are less desirable, but it is just a matter of burying the plant so that the neck is level with the soil again to tidy it up. I remove the dead leaves before doing so.

Three forms of Primula marginata in cultivation

Wild Primula marginata showing old stems
Remove dead leaves, plunge plant so that the growth point is just above the soil


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