Your property smiles - add colour to your winter garden

Autumn is the perfect time to plant Primulas – the ideal solution to add a bit of brightness and cheer to an often-dull winter landscape. They are inexpensive to buy, easy to grow and long-flowering – making them great for any garden.

Different varieties
You can include colourful displays of a variety of Primulas in pots or in your garden. The Primula acaulis is a small growing, dwarf-like primrose, which is available in a assortment of stunning colours – from yellow to red, pink, white, mauve and blue. The Fairy Primula or Primula malacoides, arguably the most popular variety, is a dainty, lacy type plant that looks great in a hanging basket, used as a border, massed together, or simply planted amongst other bedding plants. They are available in white, rose, pink, mauve and lilac.
Easy to grow
Primulas are exceptionally easy to grow and cultivate. They grow in most parts of South Africa, except areas that experience extreme drought or humidity, as they are not partial to temperature extremes. The cool autumn temperatures in the month of May provide the perfect environment to start planting Primula seedlings.

To prepare your beds for Primulas, make sure the soil is thoroughly loosened. To ensure a rich, well-drained bed, work in generous quantities of compost or manure. To boost root growth and profuse flowering, you can add a fine sprinkling of phosphate-rich compost. Make sure that your Primulas get plenty of water, but be sure that you do not over-water them, and in the warmer summer months, add a layer of mulch compost to retain moisture and water. By applying liquid fertilizer every fortnight over the growing and flowering season, you will ensure a colourful display for months.
Dig a hole deep enough to hold the root system without crushing it or bending the larger roots. The hole should not be so deep that the lower leaves of the seedling will be buried. Place the seedling roots into the hole, holding the upper part of the plant out of it. Fill in the hole with the soil mixed with organic materials. Place the seedlings about 15cm apart. Water thoroughly once the soil has been packed tightly around the base of the seedling.

A bright, cheery display
If well looked after, Primulas should flower from July through to November. Displays of Primulas are perfect for planting in partly shady areas, under trees, as borders, among other plants or in large groups. They will liven up a winter garden, and keep the landscape looking colourful right into spring. – Antonella Dési

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