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
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
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:
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