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Primula Vialii


The Jo-Anna Plant Encyclopedia:  Primula Vialii

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Primula Vialli, Orchid Primrose, Muscaroides, Red Hot Poker Primula, Spring Flowering PerennialsJo-Anna Cottage Plants - Primula Vialii

I am not a lover of the winter though the dreadful drudgery of it can be broken by some beautiful moments such as the maiden snow.  Spectacular ice forms outlining the branches and dead flower heads from the summer past also make me smile.  These moments seem to bring at least some sparkle into the months I dislike the most.  I am a winter baby but my soul sings out for the first signs of spring which seems to take such a long time to appear. You will now understand why the Spring garden is so important to me.  It marks the start of the months when you are not restricted to heavy clothing and you can shovel your hands into the earth without feeling frozen!  As a late spring bloomer Primula Vialli makes my heart skip a beat. Not only because of what it represents but also because of it's stature. 


Primula Vialli, Orchid Primrose, Muscaroides, Red Hot Poker Primula, Spring Flowering PerennialsPrimula Vialli Close Up


Primula Vialii and its many common names...




KNIPHOFIA CROWN HYBRIDS, RED HOT POKERSKniphofia Crown Hybrids - Jo-Anna Cottage Plants

If you are familiar with Kniphofia (pictured left) you will understand why this perennial is also known as Red Hot Poker Primula. There is certainly some resemblance.  They both add texture to a garden, are almost spear shaped and the flowers at the base open up first.  Primula Vialii has several other names; Orchid Primrose, Chinese Pagoda Primrose and is sometimes refered to as Primula Littoniana which Kew Gardens explains was the name of the Scottish Plant Hunter, George Forrest's friend, Consul G Litton of Tengyueh (on the Burma China Frontier).  He had assisted George Forrest on his travels and when he fell ill and died, George named the newly discovered plant after him.  In an unfortunate twist of fate and unknown to George, the Primula had already been discovered by a French Missionary Botanist, Pere Delavay and was named by him 'Primula Vialii.  See more at Kew Gardens.



Flowering and Foliage...

To me, the foliage as well as the flower are delightful. The large long leaves are almost lime green in colour and partner the red/lilac flowers like an explosion in a paint factory. They are not for everyone but I think that when the garden is still sparse on the flower front, these make a real statement and provide a unique fascination.  The blooms open like many similar shaped flowers (Foxgloves, Lupins, Kniphofia) from the base up so the bright red top is actually closed flower buds).  The frilly apron around the base of the tip adds a touch of elegance in its contrasting lilac pink.  I have never counted them but the RHS reliably say that there are between 30 and 120 individual flower buds/flowers on each stem. 







Planting, Positioning & Suitability...

This variety of Primula prefers to be in partial shade which is a joy for those of us who have garden only partly occupied by the sun.  They prefer to be kept moist and grow amazingly in boggy ground and semi shaded woodland areas.  In dry parts of the garden they are not likely to survive more than a year or two but where the ground is kept moist they will happily live up to 10 years and can be divided and left to reseed themselves to provide an assured continual display year in year out.  To add an extra dimension of interest you could try partnering them with the globes of Primula Denticulata pictured right or ferns and Hostas.  




PRIMULA DENTICULATA,Partner with Primula Denticulata





Mature Height, Spread and Characteristics...

Primula Vialii are on the larger side of the Primula World growing to a mature height of 45cm (around 18 inches).  They will not spread much further than 30cm (around 12 inches).  





Other interesting facts...

THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDE FOR INFORMATIVE PURPOSES ONLY AND WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT USE THIS PLANT EDIBLY OR MEDICINALLY.

Primula Vialii are native to China where they can be found growing in the moist mountains. They have been given the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society).


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