Primula marginata and hybrids
Forms and hybrids of Primula marginata. These much sought after alpine primulas have a delicate charm. The attractive leaves are often toothed and mealy which provide interest all year round. Unlike the Primula allionii hybrids the flowers are borne on short stems above the leaves. The delicate flowers range from blue to pink.
Origins: They are found in the wild in the Maritime and Cottian Alps which lie along the western Italy border and south-east French border. They are invariably found growing on limestone which is why they will appreciate a very gritty, well-draining compost.
Culture: Some are best kept in a cold greenhouse to appreciate the farina on the leaves that will be washed off outside, but most of the more vigorous hybrids will do well in troughs and shaded rockeries.
Very hardy plants, they are best divided every few years as they tend to produce long leggy stems that look untidy. They can be divided readily but bear in mind that they are fairly slow growing.
Flowering period: Early spring though many will flower in late winter if the conditions are right.