Plant Now: Polyanthus

Polyanthus primulas

Polyanthus aren’t usually seen in florist shops but they do make good cut flowers. Or simply pot them into fancy containers to display indoors. There are many strains available but the Barnhaven varieties are among the hardiest and best looking. Look for these and other varieties in the seedlings or potted colour range at your garden centre, then plant them outdoors in the flower border or in containers for dotting around the garden. Polyanthus (which belong to the primula family) are great cool-season plants, brightening up the dull winter days. Feed them with liquid fertiliser or blood and bone to keep them blooming week after week.

This beautiful photo comes from the blog Blomsterverkstad.

Plant Now: Primula obconica


Garden centre shelves are groaning with seedlings of primulas, pansies and polyanthus. Go on – buy a handful and plant them in pots or flower beds for cheap and cheerful winter colour. Plant in moist, well-drained soil that has plenty of compost dug in. Add a handful of blood and bone too and protect from hungry slugs and snails. Primula obconica (pictured) is great for picking, with flowers in shades of pink, purple, red and white. Some of the newer hybrids sport carmine or orange petals, but my fav is purple.