Donate to Remove ads

Got a credit card? use our Credit Card & Finance Calculators

Thanks to tea42,PeterGray,binkpa,OLTB,Cornytiv34, for Donating to support the site

Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
TheMotorcycleBoy
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 2770
Joined: March 7th, 2018, 8:14 pm
Has thanked: 1283 times
Been thanked: 233 times

Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273580

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » December 27th, 2019, 3:22 pm

Hi all,

We rescued a lawn-centred flower bed, last winter. We'd had enough of a variety different types and sizes of shrubs, not to mention all the wind blown/self set fox gloves which, though pretty, were starting help turn the thing into mini-jungle. What we did was dig out everything except 2 small roses and the primulas and cowslips. We then filled the gaps with 5 more roses (floribunda and hybrid T), and a couple more primulas.

The bed did really well over the year just gone, the roses flowered (as they do) seemingly forever, if keep deheaded, and primoses hung in there, under the shade of the roses, helped with the odd evening water down.

I'm now back in the bed this winter. After cutting back the roses, and clearing the dead leaves, and weeding out, I can see a bareish area - once I've removed the autumn's crop of fox glove seedlings before they get too excited. But... I note that some of the primulas have done really well and have bunched/crowded out in places. So my question, can I split them and propagate into the bare areas? Also can I just split off the obvious runners, and ones that now look as if they have a siamese twin, or can I just split them right through a la geums and hardy germaniums?

Matt

Dod101
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4578
Joined: October 10th, 2017, 11:33 am
Has thanked: 935 times
Been thanked: 1714 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273589

Postby Dod101 » December 27th, 2019, 4:04 pm

Hi Matt

The answer is you can most certainly split Primulas. I always try to find a plant with at least one Siamese twin as you call it and simply split them in half by hand. Some varieties seem to be more prone to offering this than others but I have quite a lot of primulas and most can be split, now if conditions are OK, no frost or the ground too waterlogged. Where I live, I wait until the early spring and lift them, split them and then replant in a good loamy soil. My border where they are is naturally enriched by oak leaves every autumn and they tend to rot down over the winter providing a good soil in the spring.

Dod

TheMotorcycleBoy
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 2770
Joined: March 7th, 2018, 8:14 pm
Has thanked: 1283 times
Been thanked: 233 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273592

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » December 27th, 2019, 4:15 pm

Dod101 wrote:Hi Matt

The answer is you can most certainly split Primulas. I always try to find a plant with at least one Siamese twin as you call it and simply split them in half by hand. Some varieties seem to be more prone to offering this than others but I have quite a lot of primulas and most can be split, now if conditions are OK, no frost or the ground too waterlogged. Where I live, I wait until the early spring and lift them, split them and then replant in a good loamy soil. My border where they are is naturally enriched by oak leaves every autumn and they tend to rot down over the winter providing a good soil in the spring.

Dod

Many thanks Dod,

Have you ever split a complete primula, i.e. a whole plant without the twin appendage? We have experience quite harshly splitting certain other plants at about this time, e.g. daisies and hardy germaniums (i.e. not pelargoniums), i.e. just dividing them right through into 2 parts with a spade. Is this kind of rough treatment also applicable to primula, or must one be more careful with these and only split off where they've grown a twin?

Matt

Dod101
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4578
Joined: October 10th, 2017, 11:33 am
Has thanked: 935 times
Been thanked: 1714 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273595

Postby Dod101 » December 27th, 2019, 4:28 pm

To be honest Matt I have never tried that and would not recommend it although someone may be along shortly to confirm it can be done. I use the method you are describing with hostas obviously, and several other plants but I have never had the need to with primula because I have always been able simply to break them up as we have described.

Good luck to you.

Dod

supremetwo
Lemon Slice
Posts: 956
Joined: November 8th, 2016, 2:20 am
Has thanked: 64 times
Been thanked: 138 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273631

Postby supremetwo » December 27th, 2019, 6:49 pm

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:Hi all,

I'm now back in the bed this winter. After cutting back the roses, and clearing the dead leaves, and weeding out, I can see a bareish area - once I've removed the autumn's crop of fox glove seedlings before they get too excited. But... I note that some of the primulas have done really well and have bunched/crowded out in places. So my question, can I split them and propagate into the bare areas? Also can I just split off the obvious runners, and ones that now look as if they have a siamese twin, or can I just split them right through a la geums and hardy germaniums?
Matt


It depends on the type.

If it is the wild cowslip, primula veris, we find that it likes to decide itself where it is happy though, since our gold wild garden award, much more has been left to nature.

https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/primula-veris/

No harm in trying your suggestions.

scotia
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1830
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 8:43 pm
Has thanked: 403 times
Been thanked: 669 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273806

Postby scotia » December 29th, 2019, 1:38 am

Monty Don on Gardeners World:-

https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-lift-and-divide-primulas

He certainly seems to have no problems in splitting clumps of primulas.

Dod101
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4578
Joined: October 10th, 2017, 11:33 am
Has thanked: 935 times
Been thanked: 1714 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273812

Postby Dod101 » December 29th, 2019, 8:44 am

scotia wrote:Monty Don on Gardeners World:-

https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-lift-and-divide-primulas

He certainly seems to have no problems in splitting clumps of primulas.


With respect, that does not add much and is exactly the type of clump that I was referring to in my response to Matt in the first place.

The ones where I have doubts are the tall primula auricula varieties. I used to have a much bigger garden than I have now and grew a lot of those very attractive plants at one time. I still have a few. I never found that they lent themselves to dividing up in the same way.

Dod

TheMotorcycleBoy
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 2770
Joined: March 7th, 2018, 8:14 pm
Has thanked: 1283 times
Been thanked: 233 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273826

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » December 29th, 2019, 10:16 am

Thanks for all the advice on this people!

UPDATE:
Yesterday, I decided to finish what I'd started....was out in the garden from 9.30 to 2.45, with just several T breaks. I managed to split several larger primulas (basically how Dod had suggested, but sometimes I teased the smaller twins in situ with a trowel), and I rescued 3 other entire prims from a v. large bed (which we don't have time to maintain and will return it to lawn next year). I also rescued 3 mature roses from the to-be reclaimed to lawn bed. One was very thick shooted and I did the final part of cutting back on it, in the bench vise with a wood saw!

Finally I got all the split/rescued prims and the 3 extra roses in the "to be maintained and enjoyed" bed, and completed weeding, and reheaping patches of earth and removed most of the dead leaves.

MORE:
One of the recovered roses had such a long root, that I ended up digging almost 18" down, and then I hit the local water table. Quite a surprise to have ones digging interrupted by water!

FINALLY:
I built back up the crumbled walls (lawn side) of the bed with surplus soil and weeded grass turfs, with some added grass seeds.. Remember I'm in the Fens and we always fighting shrinking ground anyway. On getting the hose pipe, which along with it's several extensions spends all year outdoors, sorted out to resettle the area, I was dismayed that the damn pipe snapped in half in the middle due to it's becoming brittle. So it was out with DUCT tape and a small stick to use a splint to make good and we were back in business!! :lol:

Looking forward to seeing it all bloom again soon, and crossing my fingers that all the moved/resettled plants will flourish.

Matt

scotia
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1830
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 8:43 pm
Has thanked: 403 times
Been thanked: 669 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273853

Postby scotia » December 29th, 2019, 2:25 pm

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:One of the recovered roses had such a long root, that I ended up digging almost 18" down, and then I hit the local water table. Quite a surprise to have ones digging interrupted by water!
Matt

Some years ago, digging in the garden of a new house, I also was interrupted by water - I burst the main water supply which the builder had not sunk to a safe depth. And I didn't have a water key to turn it off on the pavement.
Back to the subject of primulas - when our first grandchild arrived, we felt that it would be safer to fill-in our pond, and it became a natural venue for our primulas. I also maintain a bed of primulas in a community woodland garden. In both situations I have planted candelabra primulas of the bulleyana/beesiana type - they are winter deciduous and don't get out of control, and I have never needed to split them. I collect and sow their seed in a cold greenhouse - so its easy to populate new sections of the garden. In my search for a pure yellow candelabra, I have also planted primula prolifera. Its not deciduous, but is rather tall, and after a few years it appears to be a bit thuggish - it holds own against self-seeded foxgloves! I may require to lift and split it. Its ideal for the back of the community woodland garden, where I have also planted primula florindae (the Giant Tibetan Cowslip). My only caveat on propagation by seed is that I have experienced skin irritations when collecting the seed - so I now use thin disposable gloves.

tjh290633
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4136
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 11:20 am
Has thanked: 285 times
Been thanked: 1460 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#273866

Postby tjh290633 » December 29th, 2019, 3:57 pm

I removed a clump of cowslips from an odd position by my parents' grave and brought them home to Sussex.

They seeded profusely and several of my neighbours have benefitted from the progeny. Now, many years later, I have cowslips all over the place, to the extent that I delayed cutting the grass until they had flowered and seeded. Then I found that I had wild orchids growing in my lawns and have to leave patches unmown until midsummer.

There is a lot of benefit to letting nature take its course.

TJH

TheMotorcycleBoy
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 2770
Joined: March 7th, 2018, 8:14 pm
Has thanked: 1283 times
Been thanked: 233 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#274002

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » December 30th, 2019, 3:23 pm

scotia wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:One of the recovered roses had such a long root, that I ended up digging almost 18" down, and then I hit the local water table. Quite a surprise to have ones digging interrupted by water!
Matt

Some years ago, digging in the garden of a new house, I also was interrupted by water - I burst the main water supply which the builder had not sunk to a safe depth. And I didn't have a water key to turn it off on the pavement.
Back to the subject of primulas - when our first grandchild arrived, we felt that it would be safer to fill-in our pond, and it became a natural venue for our primulas. I also maintain a bed of primulas in a community woodland garden. In both situations I have planted candelabra primulas of the bulleyana/beesiana type - they are winter deciduous and don't get out of control, and I have never needed to split them. I collect and sow their seed in a cold greenhouse - so its easy to populate new sections of the garden. In my search for a pure yellow candelabra, I have also planted primula prolifera. Its not deciduous, but is rather tall, and after a few years it appears to be a bit thuggish - it holds own against self-seeded foxgloves! I may require to lift and split it. Its ideal for the back of the community woodland garden, where I have also planted primula florindae (the Giant Tibetan Cowslip). My only caveat on propagation by seed is that I have experienced skin irritations when collecting the seed - so I now use thin disposable gloves.

I must admit I wouldn't mind learning (or even better getting my wife to learn!!) how to get the seeds out of this genus (? is that the right word) of plants. Though maybe with time they will get dominate the ground of our rose bed themselves.

scotia
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 1830
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 8:43 pm
Has thanked: 403 times
Been thanked: 669 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#274107

Postby scotia » December 31st, 2019, 12:12 am

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:I must admit I wouldn't mind learning (or even better getting my wife to learn!!) how to get the seeds out of this genus (? is that the right word) of plants. Though maybe with time they will get dominate the ground of our rose bed themselves.

The seed capsule grows behind the flower as the flower dies. When split open, you should see lots of little green seeds.
Have a look at this video - again its Monty Don
https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-grow-candelabra-primulas-from-seed/
He is carrying out seed collection and planting with Candelabra Primulas, but the principle is the same for cowslips etc.
He is collecting and sowing the seed while green, around July. But I find this too busy a time in my cold greenhouse to look after freshly planted seed. I usually allow the seed to dry on the stem, either by leaving the stem on the plant until later in the autumn, or by plucking the stems and allowing them to dry in the greenhouse. Then I plant the (brown) seed in early spring. I notice that Monty advises the seed to be scattered on the surface. I tend to put a light covering of seed compost on top - but I'll give the uncovered method a try with some of my seed this coming spring.

Breelander
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 2959
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:42 pm
Has thanked: 496 times
Been thanked: 970 times

Re: Is it possible to propagate Primulas by splitting?

#274112

Postby Breelander » December 31st, 2019, 1:04 am

scotia wrote:He is collecting and sowing the seed while green, around July. But I find this too busy a time in my cold greenhouse to look after freshly planted seed. I usually allow the seed to dry on the stem... Then I plant the (brown) seed in early spring.


The thing about planting them 'green' is that because they are still active you don't need to break their dormancy. The seeds will germinate quickly and make decent plants by the autumn. By the time you plant your seeds they would be ready to flower.


Return to “The Natural World”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests