Primula - Primulaceae - How to care for, cultivate and make Primula plants bloom
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HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
There Primrose a small plant that owes its name to the fact that it is the first to appear as soon as the great winter colds end, cheers us up every year with its colorful colors.
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They can be multiplied either by seed or by plant division at the time of repotting.
When choosing the type of multiplication to use, keep in mind that multiplication by seed has the disadvantage that, when genetic variability takes over, you will not be sure to have plants identical to the mother plant, in which case if you want to obtain a precise specimen or you are not sure of the seed quality, it is preferable to multiply by cuttings.
MULTIPLICATION BY SEEDS
As for the sowing period, considering that there are many hybrids on the market, it is advisable to follow the instructions on the package.
Arrange the seeds in parallel rows using seed potting compost. In consideration of the fact that they are small to bury them, push them under the ground with the help of a piece of flat wood.
To prevent any attacks by fungi, it is advisable to administer a broad spectrum fungicide together with the irrigation water, in the doses indicated in the package.
The tray is covered with a clear plastic sheet (or glass plate) which will ensure a good temperature and prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.
At this point find a place in the house where the temperature is around 12-15 ° C in the shade. Every day remove the plastic and check the humidity of the soil (it must always be slightly damp) and eliminate any condensation that has formed on the plastic.
After about two weeks the seeds should germinate. At that point, permanently eliminate the plastic and move the cassette to a brighter position (not in direct sunlight) and ensure good ventilation.
An important operation is to eliminate the smaller and less robust plants to ensure the most vigorous ones, more space available.
When the seedlings are large enough to be handled, transplant into single pots using soil such as adult plants, start fertilizing until the first buds appear. At that point they treat themselves like adult plants.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
These symptoms could be due to the air being too dry and hot.
Remedies: act accordingly.
Too short flowering is in most cases caused by too high temperatures.
Remedies: move the plant to a cooler place (they should not exceed 16 ° C).
Presence of gray mold on the leaves
This damage is caused by a fungus, the Botritys spp. which is favored by too high humidity.
Remedies: in this case it is necessary to dry the soil from excess water and create a drier environment around the plant and treat with specific fungicides.
The leaves turn yellow and are dotted with yellow-brown spots and subsequently curl up and fall
This symptom is almost certainly an indication of the presence of the red spider mite, a very harmful mite. If you carefully observe the affected leaves with the help of a magnifying glass you will not only find thin cobwebs, especially on the underside of the leaves, but also the mite itself easily recognizable as it is present at the size of the tip of a pin, reddish in color and with 8 legs (the insects have 6).
Remedies: increase the ambient humidity as it is the dry microclimates that favor their proliferation. If the infestation is severe, use specific acaricides.
Presence of aphids on the plant
Aphids, or as they are commonly called lice, often nest among the fronds of this plant. Even in this case, recognizing them is simple enough to observe them: they are small, mobile, usually of light color from white to yellow to green.
Remedies: it is necessary to treat with specific pesticides that you can easily find from a good nurseryman.
COLLECTION AND STORAGE
As a premise I would like to underline that if you raise primroses to benefit from its therapeutic properties or simply for food use, it is better not to do any anti-parasite treatment.
- the leaves are harvested in spring before flowering;
- the rhizomes are harvested in winter and left to dry in a shady and well-ventilated place;
- the flowers with the calyx must be collected before they open and must be dried in the shade.
THERAPEUTIC AND COSMETIC PROPERTIES
See: "Medicinal plants"
USE IN THE KITCHEN
In the kitchen, the dried flowers of the primrose provide a tea with a very fragrant aroma and free from exciting substances and you can make very tasty candies.
The young lateral leaves of the rosette can be eaten in salads or cooked in soups.
Saint Hildegard (Abbess Hildegard von Bingen, who lived in Germany from 1098 to 1179, a medical scholar and called a saint even though the process of canonization never came to an end) recommended it as a remedy against melancholy: if it was worn on the heart in contact with the skin, she supported to gather all the strength of the midday sun.
In 1884, Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill, member of the Chamber of Commons in England, he adopted this plant as a symbol of the English Conservative Party and this symbol still remains today.
Shakespeare in Winter's Tale reads «... pale primroses that die unmarried ...» to refer to the fact that flowering very early, the insects are still very few so many of them are not pollinated.
An episode has gone down in history in which the Queen Victoriaof Great Britain, when she received the crown of the finally conquered Indies as a tribute from Prime Minister Disraeli, she gave him a bouquet of primroses as a sign of good luck in return.
Another curious fact is that in the English region of Sommerset it is calledbunch of keys which means "bunch of keys". This name is in fact linked to an ancient legend that tells that St. Peter threw the keys from Heaven from heaven and these in the place where they fell (in a region of Northern Europe) gave birth to the first primroses.
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS AND PLANTS
See: "The language of flowers and plants".
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