Whether you call it primula or by its more familiar name of primrose, it's one of the bright and early harbingers of spring. Plant primula in a old-fashioned flower bed, a rock garden, in a patio container, or along a woodland path where its bold, jewel-like colours will shine. Although primula will return year after year, it will be at its blooming best if it's split every three or four years. Divide primula after it has finished blooming in spring.
Dig the clump of primula using a garden fork. Insert the garden fork into the soil a few inches from the primula, and rock it back and forth gently to loosen the roots. It may be necessary to dig around the circumference of the plant, then lift the clump carefully from the soil.
Spray the roots with a garden hose to remove excess soil. Discard the old, woody centre of the primula, along with any areas that appear weak or diseased. Use scissors to trim the roots to a length of about 4 inches.
Split the primula into small clumps with your fingers, teasing the roots apart carefully. Be sure each divided primula has a set of roots.
Prepare a planting spot in partial sun for the transplanted primulas. Remove all weeds and debris, and cultivate the soil with the garden fork or a shovel to a depth of about 12 inches. Work 3 to 4 inches of peat moss or compost to the top of the soil.
Dig a hole for each divided primula, and plant the primula in the hole with the roots spread. The primula should be planted at its original soil level.
Water the primula plants thoroughly, and spread a 1-inch layer of organic mulch such as shredded leaves or peat moss around each plant. Don't allow the mulch to mound up on the plant, because it can be a haven for insects and disease, and can even smother the primula.
Keep the soil moist, especially for the first year. Feed the primulas in early spring, using a fertiliser for blooms, applied according to the directions on the package.
Things you need
- Garden fork
- Garden hose
- Peat moss or compost
- Organic mulch
- Fertiliser for blooms