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Alpine primula

Alpine primula come in many different shapes and forms. Most of them originate from the mountainous regions of Europe and are very hardy plants. They will do well in the garden as long as you ensure that their natural conditions are replicated as much as possible. 


Auriculas are the alpine cousins of our wild primroses. They have smooth fleshy leaves often covered with powder, to protect them from the intense solar radiation of the high mountains. Their jewel-like colours were much loved by the 18th and 19th century florists and are now being rediscovered by young and old alike.

To find out a bit more about the fascinating history of the Auricula take a look at our Auricula History pages.

They are broadly split into two categories : Garden and Show.

Garden Auriculas include alpine, border, doubles and striped. These are intended for the garden and are fully hardy. Grow them in pots or in the ground, but make sure they have good drainage in winter and protection from slugs.

Show auriculas are split into 5 distinct types : self, fancy, green edged, grey edged and white edged. All have a distinct circle of white paste or farina at the centre of the flower. The show auriculas are often grown in pots and need a little more attention if you are to succeed in producing top quality flowers.

For tips on growing Auriculas see the sections on Auriculas and Show Auriculas.

European Alpine Primula

Primula marginata, Primula allionii and their many hybrids are essential treasures in the rock garden, trough or alpine house for that very early burst of colour that foretells the coming of spring. They are the earliest flowering group of Primulas, often in flower from January to March. They need a rich, moist but well-drained soil and like all primulas they should not dry out in the summer. Many are suited to a cold greenhouse or alpine house and some of them need protection from winter wet but many of the hybrids are a lot tougher and will grow well outside in troughs and screes. They are not fast growing, but on the plus side will put up with a lot more neglect and starvation than other primulas. 

For tips on growing alpines see the sections on P. allionii and P. marginata.

Photos Lawson & Jason Ingram Photography - web Design : Daniel Lawson