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Spring Time - Polyanthus

These beautiful spring flowers are generally referred to as ‘Polyanthus’, which is thought to have

originated from a hybrid between the cowslip (Primula veris) and the common primrose (Primula vulgaris), which are familiar from English hedgerows and verges.

The resulting hybrid was called a ‘false oxlip’, and it began to be appreciated for its own showier

flowers. The word ‘Polyanthus’ began to be used in the 1670s, with a labelled illustration first

appearing in a plant catalogue in 1687.

Blooming first in the early spring, the Polyanthus is a lovely flower that can be found in shades like yellow, blue, white, pink, and purple. What all primrose flowers have in common is a delicate, yellow-tinged centre. During the last 20-years, many new multi-coloured and double flowering hybrids are being produced in great numbers.

Although you can keep your potted primrose in the home for a week or two, they are not really

houseplants and the flowers will not last long in the house. But you can help them recover by

putting them outside in the garden or in patio pots, where they will keep on flowering. Those with

outsize or double flowers are best in a very sheltered spot but most others are fully hardy and will keep on blooming for many weeks and, if you leave them to grow, they should repeat the

performance next spring too. In the garden they can be planted in sun or part shade.

Eimert de Graaff

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