How to separate primula plants

Written by jenny harrington Google
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How to separate primula plants
Separate primula plants when they start to look crowded. (Image by Fiona Shaw; Flickr.)

The primula has brightly coloured blossoms that grow in a distinctive cone or spear shape. Primula comes in varieties that produce flowers in colours ranging from purple to deep red, with some blossoms sporting two colours. Primula is propagated by division, which is when you separate the root systems and plant each so you have two plants. Divide primula after they have finished flowering and when the plants begin looking crowded.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Spade

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  1. 1

    Dig around each plant to a depth of 20 cm (8 inches). Slide the spade under the primula and lift it from the ground.

  2. 2

    Hold the primula by the stems right above the crown, or the area where the stems emerge from the root ball. Shake gently to dislodge the excess soil from the roots.

  3. 3

    Grasp the roots in your hands, placing a roughly equal portion of roots in each hand. Use your fingers to gently pull apart the roots and separate the primula into two plants. You can also cut the plant in half, though this leaves it more open to infection.

  4. 4

    Plant the separated plants into a well-drained, full to partial sun garden bed. Sow the plant to the same depth it was at previously, with the crown sitting at soil level. Space the plants 15 cm (6 inches) apart.

  5. 5

    Water immediately so any air pockets in the soil around each plant collapse. Keep the soil moist at all times, providing approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water per plant each week.

Tips and warnings

  • Place mulch around the primula to help preserve soil moisture. Mulching also prevents many weeds from growing in the garden bed.
  • Primula are simple to divide, as the roots usually separate quite easily and with minimal effort.
  • Replant divided primula immediately. The plants do not store well out of the ground. If there is no suitable bed, plant them in a pot until a bed is ready for them.

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