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Graham Porter’s gardening: go for primroses and polyanthus

Correspondent, Huddersfield Daily Examiner – examiner.co.uk

December 11, 2010

ALTHOUGH we might expect lots of different polyanthus and primroses to flower from late February onwards, these days there are quite a number of hybrids that will produce a good display from November onwards.

They are ideal for planting in containers now to brighten up your front door or a patio in time for the hoards of visitors that you are expecting over the next two to three weeks.

If you want, you can plant up an indoor container with them to give a splash of colour in a cool porch, sun room or conservatory, but be warned that the flowers will not last as long as they do outdoors and are very prone to invasions of the glasshouse/potato aphid and the caterpillar of the Angle–shades moth. You have been warned.

Look out for selections from Polyanthus Crescendo mixed and High Seas mixed.

Remember that these plants are perennials so once they have finished flowering they can be planted in a quiet corner of the garden for the summer to emerge once again next autumn to continue their display.

Indoors there are two species of primroses that have been grown as winter pot plants for many years and they make a delightful addition to the winter houseplant display.

Look out for the Fairy Primrose, primula malacoides, with its delicate whorls of flowers in shades of white, mauve and pink, with the additional benefit that some strains have fragrant flowers.

Its larger relative, Primula obconica, can flower for months and there are a wide range of different flower colours to choose from.

A word of warning for people with sensitive skin – you may be allergic to this primula and so it is best to leave it alone if you are that way inclined.

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