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Blooming Plants
            
 
  Blooming Plant of the Month
            Primrose

Botanical Name
Primula acaulis (syn. P. vulgaris), Primula x polyantha
Common names
English primrose, Polyanthus
Description
This large group of hardy, mostly perennial herbs have brightly colored, rounded 1- to 2-inch-diameter flowers in various types of clusters held above the foliage. The leaves usually form a clump and are a pleasant spring green. Most primroses are produced in greenhouses and bloom in late autumn, winter and early spring. Many cultivars have a beautiful Freesia-like fragrance.
Colors
Primroses are available in vivid reds, blues, yellows, oranges, purples or pinks. Most have yellow centers that form star, circle or scalloped patterns or even raised rings with dots of bright yellow.
Decorative Life
Primroses will bloom indoors for two to four weeks or more, depending on care. In many cases, they can be planted outdoors when blooming has finished.
Availability
Primroses are available year-round but are most heavily marketed in the spring.

Processing
1 Upon arrival, remove the plants from the shipping boxes by grasping their protective sleeves and lifting the plants out.
2 Carefully remove each sleeve by tearing along the seam upward from the bottom.
3 Inspect plant variety, size, color and quality.
4 Remove any damaged stems, leaves and blooms.
5 Inspect each plant for disease or damage. Isolate diseased or damaged plants, and report them to the grower or buying office immediately.
6 Determine water needs by pressing a finger into the soil or using a moisture meter.
7 Water each plant, as necessary, with room-temperature water, and allow excess water to drain from each pot.

In-Store and Consumer Care
Light
The plants generally do well in light levels bright enough to read a newspaper in comfort, but more light is better.
Water
Keep the soil moist at all times, but allow water to drain from pots.
Temperature
Primroses’ shelf life can be extended by keeping them in cool areas at 55 F for short periods of time in the store, and a bright, cool (55 F to 65 F) location is best in the home.

Challenges
Pollution
Severe leaf damage can result if the plants are exposed to air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide.
Special Caution
Some primrose species are reported to cause contact dermatitis in some people.

Fun Fact
Family
Primroses are members of the Primulaceae family. The most common commercial crop relatives include Cyclamens, shooting-star (Dodecatheon) and loosestrife (Lysimachia).

Quality Checklist
Blooms
Avoid plants that show signs of mold on the blossom stems, a frequent problem.
Foliage
Check the plants for signs of wilt rot or leaf damage.
Pests
Snails, slugs and silkworms can attack the leaves; aphids and thrips can infest the flowers. quality checklist.
 

You can reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at sbfloral@aol.com or by phone (415) 239-3140.

Images courtesy of The John Henry Company.

Some information provided by:
The American Primrose Society, www.americanprimrosesoc.org
Chain of Life NetworkÆ, www.chainoflifenetwork.org


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