Primula denticulata is among the most handsome and striking of the primula family, it is the 'drumstick primula': the name derives from its dense, spherical flower-head. It is an easy-growing, rumbustious species, originating from meadows and the light woodland of the Himalayas.
It is suitable for any garden where the soil does not dry out in summer and is one of the very early flowering primulas and one of the easiest to grow. It thrives in a moist organic soil in partial shade, being one of the most uniformly growing types for massed planting in damp borders or boggy soil.
The flowers are ruby-red and the mid green leaves are spoon shaped and finely toothed, they are deciduous, dying down in autumn.
The drumstick primula is unique in appearance, and benefits from being grown in a large, showy group. It can be planted to grow under tall, deciduous shrubs, or at the front of borders, but will also look good when planted in a bog garden or close to water.
The plant over-winters as a visible resting bud and then, in March, the flower buds start to show in the centre of the expanding new leaves. These buds open before the flower stems begin to elongate. The stems lengthen over several weeks, carrying the flower clusters aloft.
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.
Primula denticulata is found in a wide area of Asia from Afghanistan to Bhutan and into China. It is found to growing at elevations of 1500 to 4500 m. (5000 to 14750 ft.). There it is seen on grassy slopes, amongst open shrubs and other areas which tend to be evenly moist throughout the year. Colours of Primula denticulata range from pure white, mauves and lavender shades into deep maroon.
Primula denticulata was first scientifically named in literature in 1804 and has been recollected by plant hunters several times since.
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.
The species name denticulata is taken from the Latin dent meaning ‘tooth’ (as in dentist), referring to the slightly toothed leaves of this species.
It is commonly known as Drumstick primrose or the Himalayan Primrose.
Primrose and Polyanthus are a diverse group of the Primulaceae, the Primula family.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 10 mg Average Seed Count 120 Seeds Family Primulaceae Genus Primula Species denticulata Cultivar Ruby Common Name Drumstick primula Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Ruby Natural Flower Time March to May Foliage Mid green, oval, velvety, scalloped Height 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) Spread 30-38cm (12 to 15in) Position Light Shade Soil Moist, fertile, humus rich soil Time to Sow Sow seeds in late spring/early summer or late summer/autumn.