Liven Up Winter/Spring Beds with Colourful Primulas

Lift your spirits in the dull days of winter with the bright colours of Primulas. No garden is complete without these cheerful and hardy perennials as they are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and come in every colour imaginable. These easy to grow blooms are perfect any type of garden, whether you need to fill some ground space or adding some wonderful colour to the front of the border.

In this blog post, we will guide you through our favourite Primula varieties, planting tips and aftercare, so that you can grow a rainbow of beautiful Primulas even during those cold, winter months.

Top varieties

Primula Colour Carnival

Packed with vibrant shades, our ‘Colour Carnival’ are an exciting mixture of bi-coloured Primula. Their fragrant blooms are perfect for attracting pollinators to the spring garden. Easy to grow, robust plants for beds and borders.

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Primula Husky Raspberry Punch

Brighten up the winter garden with the bursting brilliant pink hues of Primula ‘Raspberry Punch’. Flowering from January through to April, these cheery flowers will add a kick of colour to borders, pots, or why not plant them en-masse for a real eye-catching feature.

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 Primula Primlet

Producing masses of stunning double and semi-double flowers, these blooms almost resemble a miniature rose in the midst of the winter/spring season. From yellows to violet hues, these hardy perennials are ideal for creating a rainbow in the winter border.

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 Primula Showstopper Lime/Cream

A bright and delicate perennial. Our beautiful new ‘Showstopper’ is a pure delight in the late winter garden when their lime tinted cream flowers are on show. Ideal for the border, beds and containers.

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Primula Wanda

Fill the winter garden with the beautiful fragrance of Primula Wanda. Plant them where you can enjoy their scent, such as in patio containers or the front of the border. Wanda is a beautiful mixture of vibrant, ruffled flowers that are perfect for any garden.

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There are many benefits to growing Primulas:

  • A wide range of colours are available. 🌸
  • Fragrant varieties available.
  • Versatile plants – great for beds, borders or containers. 🏡
  • Varied flowering times – winter/spring/early summer  ☀❄

Planting Guide

Planting Time: August – October 📆

Flowering Time: February – May 🌸

Soil Type: Fertile, moist, well-drained soil. 🏡

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Beds/Borders

  • Best results are achieved by potting up into 9cm pots for 2-3 weeks upon arrival.
  • Allow them to establish a good root system.
  • Gradually harden them off before planting outside.
  • Water well after planting.

Containers

  • Using a good quality, peat-free, multi-purpose compost, fill a pot around 10cm from the rim with compost.
  • Plant them so the top of the rootball and compost are level.
  • Fill in any gaps between the plant with more compost.

Aftercare Tips

  • Water regularly.
  • Prune dead leaves and spent blooms regularly.
  • For potted Primulas, transplant them to your borders in the spring, where they will flower gain next year.
  • For container Primulas, feed with a high potash feed every fortnight.
  • Keep them moist but not sodden to avoid moulding.

Allium Guide: When and How to Plant Them

Alliums are plants of exquisite beauty that deserve a place in perennial gardens. Easy to grow and undemanding, these ornamental bulbs come in a diverse range of colour, height and bloom times, to give you beautiful blooms from spring all the way through till summer.

Throughout this Allium blog, we will guide you through our most popular varieties, planting partners, a full planting guide and even video planting tutorials to get you ready for your autumn bulb planting.

Top Varieties

Allium Graceful Beauty

A striking new variety. This elegant Allium will dazzle in the summer garden with their white and pink flushed flowers. Easy to grow and compact, this bloomer will dazzle at the front of the border. Also they are perfect for attracting wildlife!

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Allium Drumsticks

A lovely addition to the border. Add interest and movement to the late-spring garden with these unique and vibrant egg-shaped flower heads.  As well as being long lasting and pollinator-friendly, these Alliums make beautiful cut flowers!

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Allium Gladiator

An RHS Garden Merit Award-Winner. Allium Gladiator showcases dozens of small star-shaped purple blooms which are long lasting and naturalise easily for years of pleasure. Spectacular in large, sweeping drifts.

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 Allium Globemaster

Boasting massive spherical violet heads, this award-winning Allium is a great tall addition to beds and borders. This showstopper naturalises easily and they are perfect for bringing butterflies fluttering to the garden.

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Alliums look beautiful alongside…

Forming a succulent mat of foliage around the base, then springing into flower some time after the Alliums have faded. Click here to view our Sedum Range.

Partner the taller Allium varieties alongside delphiniums for a border filled with architectural beauty and height. Click here to view our Delphinium Range.

Create a border rich in colour and shapes. Poppies and Alliums both excel in the garden as elegant vertical accents with architectural interest. Click here to view our Poppy Range.

Planting Guide

Planting time: September – December 📆

Location: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Flowering Time: Late-Spring-July 🌸

Soil Type: Fertile, well-drained soil 🏡

For ground planting:

  1. Remove any weeds before planting.
  2. Plant at 3-4 times the depth of the bulb and approx 10cm-15cm apart. Position the bulbs with the pointed end facing upwards.
  3. Fill in the holes and tread down lightly.
  4. Feed regularly in poor soils.
  5. After flowering, remove the leaves when they have withered.

For container planting:

  1. Make sure to use a deep and fairly large pot for large Allium bulbs.
  2. Use a good-quality potting compost.
  3. Plant the bulbs three times deeper than the height of the bulb and as far apart as you can.
  4. Water sufficiently after planting.
  5. For frost protection, use bubble wrap or garden fleece.

Tutorials

How to Plant Allium Superglobe: Summer Garden Guide
How to Plant Allium Superglobe: Summer Garden Guide
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October Plant of the Month: Heather

A terrific plant that deserves a spot in any garden. They may be small, but Heather are inexpensive, evergreen plants that provide colour even in the coldest months. Originating from the Scottish Hylands, transform any garden border, patio or rockery with the vibrant floral clusters of Heather and turn any garden into a carpet of dazzling colour.

To celebrate Heather as our plant of the month, we have selected our best Heather mixtures and collections on offer, as well as ideal planting partners, a planting guide and even some traditional folklore about Scotland’s national flower.

Top Varieties

Winter Flowering Collection

These small Heathers make a big impact with their masses of tiny blooms that flower all winter long into the spring. This collection of low-growing evergreen shrubs make excellent and colourful ground cover.

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Winter Mixed (Erica)

One of the hardiest of the Heathers. This wonderful mix of Erica Heather are low and quick growers, which will form eye-catching mats of pink, white, purple of red blooms. The perfect plant to compliment early spring bulbs.

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Summer/Winter Collection

Fill your garden with beauty all year round with this collection. Our summer Heathers bloom from July-October, while our winter Heathers flower from December to February. Plant en masse on a slope and an impressionist’s landscape will burst into life.

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Summer Mixed (Calluna)

Among the most hardiest and most varied of all Heathers. Appearing from mid-late summer, these showy flowers practically glow with their bright and beautiful shades. An easy to grow contender for adding to cottage gardens or as ground cover.

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Looking for some floral inspiration? Here are some tips on companion planting with Heather…

When planted en masse, Heathers and Heaths make a swath of tones and foliage with easy appeal and graceful texture. Adding some dimension to such plantings further enhances the garden area and increases interest year around.

Rhododendrons & Azaleas

A classic Heather companion. They crave the same acidic soil and consistent moisture on which Heather thrive. You can even feed Heather with a Rhododendron fertiliser.

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Pansies

When planting Heather in containers, keep it simple by accenting them with beautiful hardy Pansies. An excellent pot plant that grow well with Heather.

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Lavender

Smaller flowering plants compliment Heather and bloom at different times, thereby extending the bloom show. The look of Lavender and Heather together is a real showstopper.

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Planting Guide

Planting Time: Autumn-Early Spring 📆

Soil Type: Well drained, lime-free soil 🏡

Location: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Flowering Time: July-October & December-February 🌸

  • Space Heathers as far apart as their mature width and at least 60cm away from other shrubs (to ensure good air circulation).
  • Dig a hole about twice as wide as the plug and half again as deep.
  • Firm the soil around the plant and water-in.
  • Water the plant once or twice a week when the soil is dry throughout the first season.
  • Mulch after planting.
  • Trim faded flower stems back to bases straight after flowering.

  • Plant them in a large, wide pot with good drainage holes in the bottom.
  • Use ericaceous potting mix (they enjoy highly acidic soil).
  • Shelter from strong winds and water when the two-inch later of soil is dry.
  • Protect from frosts by moving small pots indoors or cover the plant with polystyrene foam, then mulch the plant heavily.

Folklore 🌟

Here are some fascinating tales about these wild blooms.

June Plant of the Month: Alliums

Easy to grow and versatile enough to be able to be grown in borders, flower beds, patio pots and containers, Alliums they really will pack a punch and are a must have impact plant for spring and summer.

Also known as Ornamental Onions, Alliums are from the onion family and are a fantastic addition to any garden. They are great for deterring Aphids, protecting other plants in your garden as well as themselves making them excellent companion plants.

Why we love them

The striking, showy flower heads of the humble Allium have long been a favourite of the modern cottage gardener. Blending beautifully into a summer perennial border, tall statuesque Alliums will cheerfully tower above lower growing plants just a seamlessly as smaller Alliums, which will add a zing to the front of a low border or edge.

Beyond the garden, Allium flowers and seed pods are excellent additions to cut flower displays. If you’re feeling creative, they can also be dried and sprayed to use as festive decorations.

Bee Friendly

Over the last few years we’ve been running a Spring flowering Bulb Competition (see details for this year’s competition here) and as these past entries show, (above) Alliums are highly attractive to bees! Great for the wildlife friendly gardener.

Where and when to Plant

For the best results position in full sun, and in well drained soils. For poorer soils treat with potash feed in the spring, which will help all your spring flowering bulbs and encourage them to return the following year.

Plant from early autumn at three or four times their own depth. The gaps you leave between Alliums will depend on their mature size, as well as your overall design ideas! For smaller alliums plant 10cm apart, the larger varieties will need at least 25cm in between. We indicate planting depths/distance for individual varieties on their own product pages.

Most Alliums will do well in containers as long as you give them enough space. They need a good 4cm of compost beneath each bulb, so choose deep pots, and for soil use any multipurpose compost, such as John Innes No 3. Some prefer to mix equal parts soil to horticultural grit. Re-pot each autumn.

Flowers and Foliage

One of the most striking features of Alliums is the long, sturdy stems that keep those amazing pom-pom like balls of flowers suspended on high. From the base of the Alliums grows lush, lance like swords of green foliage. As the flowers fade the basal foliage will wilt and turn brown. Unsightly as it is, don’t try to remove the leaves until they have all completely died off or you will stop the bulb taking enough food for winter to ensure it comes back the following year. If you are including Alliums in your flower bed and border design it’s a good idea to ensure to surround them with low growing plants that flourish in late summer to screen the foliage as it browns. Lavender likes similar conditions to Alliums or Hardy Geraniums will come in after the Alliums and continue to the end of summer, or you could plant alongside Ornithogalum for a contrasting display as illustrated below.

Thanks to their increasing popularity, Allium varieties such as Purple Sensation, the huge Globemaster variety, and Sphaerocephalon – more commonly known as The Drumstick Allium – have become staples for many gardeners.

Click here to browse our full range of Alliums, delivered from mid-August onwards.