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Primulas planting and growing

Primulas, or primroses, are of various kinds, some being border plants, but mostly known in this country as greenhouse and window-garden subjects. One of them is the auricula. The true or English cowslip is one of the hardy border plants; also the plants commonly known as polyanthus.

Common hardy primulas (or polyanthus and related forms) grow 6 to 10 inches high, sending up trusses of yellow and red flowers in early spring. Propagated by division, or by seed sown a year before the plants are wanted. Give them rather moist soil.

The primula of the winter-garden is mostly the P. Sinensis (Chinese Primrose), grown very extensively by florists as a Christmas plant. With the exception of the full double varieties, it is usually grown from seed. There is a popular single form known as P. stellata. The seed of Chinese primulas sown in March or April will make large flowering plants by November or December, if the young plants are shifted to larger pots as needed.

The seed should be sown on the flat surface of the soil, composed of equal parts loam, leafmold, and sand. The seed should be pressed down lightly and the soil watered carefully to prevent the seed from being washed into the soil. Very fine sphagnum moss may be sifted over the seed, or the box set in a moist place, where the soil will remain wet until the seeds germinate. When the plants are large enough, they should be potted separately or pricked out into shallow boxes.

Frequent pottings or transplantings should be given until September, when they should be in the pots in which they are to bloom. The two essentials to successful growth through the hot summer are shade and moisture. Height, 6 to 8 inches. Bloom in winter and spring.

At present the "baby Primrose" (Primula Forbesi) is popular. It is treated in essentially the same way as the Sinensis. The obconica (P. obconica) in several forms is a popular florist's plant, but is not much used in window-gardens. The hairs poison the hands of some persons. Culture practically as for P. Sinensis.

All primulas are impatient of a dry atmosphere and fluctuating conditions.