Gardeners new to the area are often surprised to find primroses flourishing in the hot and dry conditions of the high desert. Many Primula enthusiasts believe that our summers are simply too hot and too dry, but there are varieties that grow well here. The trick is to find the plants most suited to the region and then to find or create a microclimate that satisfies their needs. It's not a difficult task. The primula pictured here grows well with several other types in a loamy, meadow-like bed that receives mid-morning sunlight, and regular water. The bed happens to be just under the hanger for the garden hose which inevitably drips after each use. The daily moisture coupled with the afternoon shade helps maintain the proper level of moisture for the roots of these little wonders.
Definitely, Primroses enjoy a moist environment. Some do particularly well in bog-like areas near ponds and streams. Others do well in afternoon shaded rock gardens rich in loamy soil that stays moist but not soggy. In areas that become consistently and naturally dry, drip lines can be added that water generously on a regular basis. Prepare the soil with ample amounts of compost. Use material that will soak up and retain the much needed water. Add organic chicken manure each year. You can also grow Primula in containers. We recommend glazed containers because they help retain moisture better than unglazed terra cotta.
Be wary of transplanting the grocery store varieties of Primula. They are almost always green house hybrids and usually take quite a shock when transplanted to the outdoors. If you are interested in growing Primula in the high desert, talk to John and Nancy at Drycreek.