DIDCOT, UK: Plant a rainbow of colour to welcome in spring by packing patio pots and filling flower beds with primulas and polyanthus. These cheerful bedding plants offer great value, flowering their hearts out for weeks on end to brighten your outlook on even the dullest of days.
New varieties are continually being bred offering outstanding garden performance, larger flowers and better resistance to the vagaries of our weather. Although single-coloured flowers are always popular also look out for bicolours, double and rosebud types, plus wonderfully scented new varieties too.
Bold blocks of primulas always look striking, but impressive displays can also be created by combining them with other spring bedding, flowering bulbs and foliage plants too. Small pot grown plants are available now in full flower, making them perfect for creating instant displays in any garden, patio or courtyard.
Primulas are one of the most popular wildflowers too. Make your own grassy meadow or plant banks, verges and other natural areas with dainty Primroses (Primula vulgaris) and Cowslips (Primula veris). Keep watered if conditions are dry and these hardy perennials will quickly establish, flowering and setting seed to slowly spread and cover the area with their progeny.
Spring planting combinations for primulas
Choose from a range of spring bedding plants, flowering bulbs and hardy perennials to create colourful displays for patio pots and flowerbeds. Here are some ideas of the flowers you could choose as companion plants for primulas and polyanthus: Bedding Daisies (Bellis), Bugle (Ajuga), Daffodils and Narcissus, Forget-me-nots (Myosotis), Grape Hyacinths (Muscari), Heuchera, Hyacinths, Pansies and Violas, Stocks, Sweet William, Tulips, Wallflowers (Erysimum).
With the variable weather in the UK changing from day to day and region to region, bringing your bulbs inside will help them to flower sooner. Nothing creates a spring mood in store and in the home like potted bulb plants. They offer convenience for the consumer, are almost guaranteed to flower and radiate lots of energy thanks to all the sprouting bulbs. Some of the stars in the potted bulb category have been selected for March to celebrate the start of Spring: Narcissi, grape hyacinths (Muscari), tulips and hyacinths will flower quickly and radiantly in warm conditions indoors.
Potted tulips are available in a range which extends from specialist botanical species which remain short and small through to fabulous cultivars with different flower shapes, such as single and double flowered, fringed (crispa) and parrot tulips. The flower can be single-coloured or multicoloured, flamed or striped.
Hyacinths are available in classic colours such as pink, white and blue, but also novel shades such as purple, salmon and pale yellow. The individual flowers on the stem are called ‘nails’. The more nails, the more richly the plant flowers.
Potted narcissi are offered as both scented spray narcissi and classic trumpets, as well as varieties with double flowers. Most common colours are yellow and white, whilst bicoloured narcissi with salmon and orange in the flower are becoming more widespread.
Grape hyacinths derive their name from the grape-like flowers, which also come in white, lilac, purple and pink nowadays. The popular potted bulbs have a light musk fragrance, which is reflected in the scientific name Muscari.
Sales and display tips for Springtime bulbs
Springtime bulbs can readily prompt impulse purchases. For example, style them with matching image material in the background and repeat them in various places around the store. Create ready-made baskets, containers and bowls to make life easy for the customer. And supplement the display with additional Spring accessories for an appealing and atmospheric arrangement. Add some birdsong, and the association with spring will be irresistible.
Thanks to Adam Pasco and the Flower Council of Holland for the information contained in this article.