Primroses grow from small rhizomes under the soil. Flowering at the same time as many spring bulbs, such as tulip, the dainty yellow blossoms of primroses add spring colour to gardens. Primroses must be divided every three to five years or the centre of the primrose plant will stop flowering and begin to die out. Splitting your primrose flowers enables you to enlarge your flower planting without buying new plants.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Plant markers
Divide primroses six weeks after they stop flowering in spring or in autumn before the ground freezes. Mark the location of each plant with a plant marker if you are digging them up in autumn.
Dig down to a 15 cm (6 inch) depth around each plant with a spade. Slide the spade under the primrose clump and lift it from the ground.
Brush off the excess soil from the roots so you can see them. Break apart the rhizomes using the tip of your spade so each root section has at least two shoots and a healthy system of roots attached.
Dispose of any roots that have soft spots indicating rot or disease. Also throw away any that are shrivelled and no longer producing shoots or roots.
Plant primrose divisions into a well-drained, partially shaded garden bed immediately after dividing. Plant the roots 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) deep in the soil and water after replanting.
Tips and warnings
- Cover primrose beds with a 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inch) layer of mulch to preserve soil moisture.
- The foliage on the primrose is necessary for the plant to collect nutrients for the following year. If dividing before the foliage begins to fade, leave it in place on the plant.
- Some varieties of primrose, such as evening primrose, do not need to be divided and splitting them may actually kill the plants.
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