Candelabra primulas are worth growing for their sheer size and the attractive flowers that clothe the stems in whorls. Suitable for herbaceous borders or as marginal plants beside ponds, they will thrive if given a place where the roots will not dry out during the spring or summer.
Primula 'Candelabra Woodside Hybrids' bear 5cm (2in) diameter spherical heads (umbels) before the new leaves are fully developed. The light green leaves have conspicuous dustings of white-yellow flecks or 'meal'. The emerging leaves can elongate after flowering to reach 30cm (12in) in length.
Flowers are usually lilac to lavender to reddish-purple with a yellow eye and tubular to trumpet-shaped. The variety alba has white flowers.
Sowing: Sow seeds in late spring/early summer or late summer/autumn.
Primula seeds need a period of cold and damp to enable them to germinate. Sow on the surface of seed compost, cover with grit and keep in a shaded cold-frame or cool glasshouse.
Sow seed 2.5cm (1in) apart in trays or cells containing seed compost. Sow the seeds on the surface of the compost, (Do not cover - they need light to germinate) and place in a light position at a regular temperature of around 16°C (60°F) Germination should take place between 21 and 40 days.
Primula seeds can also be sown during warmer times of the year, but it would be necessary to artificially simulate “winter” using the following method of “stratification”:
Place the seeds between two pieces of damp filter paper or folded kitchen roll then put into a polythene bag and place this into the fridge at 4°C (39°F) which is the temperature that most fridges are set at. Inspect the seeds after two weeks and remove as the seedlings appear, returning the ungerminated seeds to the fridge.
Although most seeds should germinate in 4 to 5 weeks, germination can be erratic, it is not unknown for seeds still to be germinating up to two years after sowing. Remove the seedlings and place the pot in a shaded corner of the garden….just in case!
When seedlings have their first pair of true leaves and are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots containing peaty compost. Grow on then gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out. Plant them in a humus-rich, moisture retentive soil and in partial shade.
The important factor is that the roots should not dry out, so incorporate plenty of organic matter when you plant, mulch well in autumn and spring and water regularly if they are in the open.
Cut back after flowering. Once established, they benefit from being lifted and divided every two years in early spring.
Bedding schemes. Indoor plants, Pots and containers
Primulas are one of the most popular species of plants which are seen in gardens. There are at least 425 species with over 300 of them found in Asia. 33 more are found in Europe and 20 found in North America.
There are societies dedicated to single species that are centuries old and many other societies which have their roots in the Victorian era where several species where highly desirable for collections and collectors.
The genus Primrose is ultimately derived from Old French primerose or medieval Latin prima rosa, meaning “first rose".( Latin primus - meaning ‘first’ and Rosa for Rose). Primroses flowers in early spring, one of the earliest spring flowers in much of Europe.
Candelabra primulas take their name from the fact that the flowers on the plants in this group are arranged in whorls set at intervals up an otherwise bare stem. The general effect is like a candelabrum.
Primrose and Polyanthus are a diverse group of the Primulaceae, the Primula family.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 30mg Average Seed Count 100 Seeds Family Primulaceae Genus Primula Cultivar Candleabra Hybrids Common Name Candelabra primrose Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers March to May Foliage Mid green, oval, velvety, scalloped Height 45 to 60cm (18-24in) Spread 30-38cm (12-15in) Position Light Shade Soil Moist, fertile, humus rich soil Time to Sow Late spring/early summer or late summer/autumn. Germination Between 21 and 40 days.