CANDELABRA PRIMROSE Primula pulverulenta

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Primula pulverulenta, Candelabra Primrose, the Mealy Primrose or Mealy Cowslip, is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, native to damp habitats in China. It is a herbaceous perennial growing to 100 cm (39 in) tall by 60 cm (24 in) broad, with strong stems of deep pink to red flowers arising from basal rosettes of leaves in early summer. The flowers are grouped at intervals along the stem in a tiered formation, hence the common name "candelabra primula" which is often applied to this and other species with a similar arrangement.

The specific epithet pulverulenta, meaning "dust", refers to the mealy white layer (farina) covering the stems of the plant.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. In cultivation it requires a neutral or acid soil which remains permanently moist, such as the bank of a stream or pond, in full or partial sunlight.

Type: Hardy perennial

Hardiness zones: 4-8

Note: Ornamental use only. May cause a skin rash or irritation in some individuals.

Germination: As with many perennials, these seeds can benefit from a period of moist cold to help them break dormancy. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:

Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds on the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 4-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.

Alternatively, these seeds can also be planted outdoors in fall, winter, or early spring, while temperatures are still cold (but ground is workable) to germinate naturally in spring. Be sure to mark the area where you planted them, and that the soil is consistently moist.

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