Our auriculas are raised to be hardy and to survive without the special cossetting that is sometimes required by show auriculas. They grow well in a normal soil, either in pots or in the ground, but must be very well drained and they appreciate shade at mid-day.
Auriculas growing in an old ceramic sink with saxifraga.
If your soil is heavy, add some small gravel and a gravel mulch around the plant will help to avoid rot if the winter is wet. It also seems to deter slugs and the dreaded vine weevil. Try to remove dead leaves which fall on your plants. For the best flowers, give a low dose of tomato feed every week as soon as you see new buds, until full flowering.
Alpine, border and double auriculas may be grown in the garden, but to safeguard the spectacular beauty of the Show auriculas it is often usual to keep them in pots either in a well ventilated and shaded alpine house, or under some sort of protection outdoors. They don't mind the cold, only excessive wet and the rain on the flowers can wash the farina away. They may be grown easily outside on a north-facing window-ledge or in an auricula theatre.
© Colin Humphrey, National Auricula and Primula Society Kent group.
Here is a brief résumé of our own show auricula year :
Spring - we start to water the plants little by little as the weather begins to warm up, keeping them just moist. As the buds appear we begin to give a small amount of tomato fertiliser, until flowering.
Summer - after the flowers have finished we re-pot into fresh compost*. If there are rooted offsets we remove carefully and put into small pots. It’s important not to give your auriculas too large a pot. They do seem to like their roots a bit constrained. We then put the pots into the shade and keep them just moist.
Autumn and winter – not a great deal to do apart from keeping them just damp enough to stay alive.
All year - Removing dead leaves and stems that come away easily does help to avoid rot.
* Compost: each grower has his own recipe but the emphasis has to be on good drainage. We use a mixture of a very open peat based compost, mixed with vermiculite and gravel.