Monday, 8 June 2009

Primula vialii - The weird family member

For a Primula this has got to be the weird family member.  It's the non-conformist, the attention seeker, and it is definitely unlike the typical garden types.

This plant bears little resemblance to its relatives, such as P. denticulata, P. bulleyana, or P. vulgaris, and on first inspection it looks more like the smaller cousin of a Knifofia as opposed to a Primula.  The foliage, on the other hand, is definitely characteristic of it's relatives.

In recent years Primula vialii has become ever more popular with gardeners and quite readily available in most garden centres throughout the UK.  

I've recently used this plant in several places in my garden and it is especially effective when planted in small clumps.  An acidic soil is preferable and it is the perfect plant for a shady area with moist soil.  Shaded areas are often quite difficult to introduce colour into so you can imagine just how valuable this plant can be in such settings.

Also, as for encouraging wildlife, just like other Primula's, it excels.  All manner of flying insects flock to it's flower spikes, which are not only gorgeous but long lasting too.

So if you're looking for an unusual and striking plant for the front of a border, or a shadier area consider this plant the next time you're at the garden centre.

I'm planning on propagating this plant in the near future and I'm hoping to try to sow its seeds "green".  If anyone has used this method of propagation with this plant then I would be interested to hear from you.


  1. Ryan:
    Somehow I knew your keen eye would land on this one! I have not yet been able to find it here in Canada, but know that if I see it, it shall reside in the Shaded Walk! Great info and photos. Hope your garden season is progressing well! Wet and much cooler than average for me, but the shade garden is revelling in it!

  2. The colour combination of red with purple is weird too ;-) But, the flower really stands out. I like flowers that are long lasting. Enjoy!

  3. How funny! I had a post about Primula, but this type I've neven seen it before! Simply beautiful.

  4. I too thought that it resembled a Red Hot Poker. It's interesting to know that it attracts beneficial insects as I'm trying to add these types of plants to my border. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for this one.

  5. Was surprised to find this plant in our local ho-hum nursery yesterday and bought it for a friend! We featured it in FG a while back, and I was instantly mezmerized by its 2-tone flowers. Alas, a bit too delicate for my garden, where an initial watering is just about all a new plant can reasonably expect... I'm hoping said friend is a little more successful.

  6. I love this primula and it is on my wish list to buy next year - I definitely think it is worth a go sowing seeds in the green - it works for other primula varieties.

  7. looooove this! Now I'm on the hunt for this! I love the funky shape and color-combo. Totally eye catching, a great conversation piece in the garden :)

  8. I always think that it reminds me of a 'Rocket' ice lolly. Which is no bad thing.

  9. Teza: My garden is growing very well indeed! We had a very nice warm patch and everything went into fast forward. It's now damp and dreary again though and as it's mild I have a feeling the fungi will relish this!

    Silvia: It's definitely one to look out for! It's quite easily overlooked as a Primula due to its flowers. But great none the less.

    Michelle: Did he like it? And was it Oakleafgreen? It's a fab plant!

    Mouffetard: Definitely has the ice lolly look about it. It probably contains E numbers!!

  10. Yup, it was Andy, and I think he was a bit puzzled by it at first, but it didn't take long for the love to grow! Who can resist that flower?


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