The polyanthus primula “Gold Lace” has unusual golden-eyed flowers with rich mahogany-crimson petals with gold laced edges. It has ovate mid-green leaves, occasionally with a reddish tint and a pronounced scent.
They enjoy a position in moist, slightly acid soil in partial shade, however they can tolerate full sun if the soil remains moist at all times, but prefer slightly acidic soil in partial shade.
Gold Lace is a very old heritage variety that dates back to the 1780s. It has been bred to exacting standards for more than two centuries.
These plants will bloom from late winter through to spring with masses of small 2.5cm (1in) diameter flowers on multiple flower stems. They are extremely hardy and will flower year after year, increasing by root division.
In days gone by, these delightful laced polyanthus were grown for keenly contested local competition.
In 1822, cultural details were described in great detail in the monumental works of the “Encyclopaedia of Gardening” for Victorian gardeners.
We have written an abbreviated version below….just in case you cannot lay your hands on a copy!
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 from June onwards on a 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.
Germination can be erratic, although most should germinate in 4 to 5 weeks, 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.
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 10-15 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
Polyanthus is thought to be a natural hybrid between the cowslip (Primula veris) and the common primrose (Primula vulgaris), familiar from English hedgerows and verges. The resulting hybrid was called a 'false oxlip', and it began to be appreciated for its own showier flowers.
The word 'Polyanthus' began to be used in the 1670s, with a labelled illustration first appearing in a plant catalogue in 1687. The famous garden designer Gertrude Jekyll bred the first pure yellow Polyanthus by 1880 from off-white and mottled bronze varieties. Polyanthus have elegant long stems that protrude from their distinctively textured foliage.
Primroses and Polyanthus: What's the difference?
Primroses have one flower per stalk, polyanthus many.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 10 Seeds Family Primulaceae Genus Primula Species elatior Cultivar Gold Lace Synonym Polyanthus Hardiness Hardy Perennial Hardy Rich mahogany-crimson petals with gold laced edges. Natural Flower Time Spring, 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 Sow in late spring/early summer or late summer/autumn. Germination Between 21 and 40 days. Notes Seeds will need stratifying during warmer months of the year