Auriculas of 2018, Part 3, Best of the Rest

This is #7 Auricula Field, or Apple Field, planted in 2018. Three seedlings flowered in their first year, a rare occurence; one of them is blooming in the distance (top right).  A fourth, a very tantalizingly dark red self, was almost open when the first snow buried it in November. In their second spring (first in the garden), a good hundred of these should bloom.  In addition to seedlings from my hand-pollinated red selfs, there are several seedlings out of ‘Starling’ and … I don’t remember what else. It will exciting to see.

#7 Auricula Field (Apple Field)


Not sure whether these are all the same plant, two plants, or three. Looks like two.


The rest of these are chosen from the many auricula photos I took last year. Many beautiful, or at least interesting, plants, even in a poor year. 2019 will be better.

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Auriculas of 2018, Part 2, Named Cultivars

In 2019, I am going to move some named cultivars into shadier spots, or bring shade to the spots they’re already in, hoping then more of them will bloom.  A normal spring, or closer to normal than 2018’s, would also make a difference. This first grouping includes two pictures of ‘Night and Day,’ proving to be a good garden plant. The yellow and orange is ‘Old Buffer,’ and the yellow and purple is ‘Regency Paperchase.’



The flowers of purple self ‘Martin Luther King’ (MLK) may not have the best form, but the plant is vigorous and blooms well. Likewise, blue self ‘Angel Islington’ has been happier out in the garden than potted up. Also in this grouping are dark red/orange picotee (or is it a cloud?) ‘Moon Fairy’ and Maedythe Martin’s delicately coloured double ‘Country Maid.’



Finally, a group of border auriculas: ‘Winifred’ (yellow with a pink edge); ‘Brownie’ (red with a lighter, red-brown edge), ‘Kingscote’ (bright pink with a white centre), ‘Heaven Scent’ (pink with a yellow centre and a pin eye), ‘Bailey Boy’ (ruffled, mustard yellow) and ‘Starling’ (purple, pin-eyed, with faint striping and a dusting of farina).

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Primula in 2018: P. auricula

Primula auricula

2018 was a good year for Primula auricula, the species. These plants stood up to the weather better than many of the hybrid auriculas. They bloomed well and went on to set plenty of seed, as they always do.



Not every yellow-flowered auricula is an example of the species.  How do I know my yellow-flowered auriculas are species and not hybrids? I don’t. All are from seed labelled Primula auricula. But a name on a seed packet is not a guarantee of purity. My first auricula seeds came from a botanic garden, where cross-pollination with related species can produce hybrid seeds. Some of my yellows are raised from wild-collected seeds. These are likely to be true. Others simply look and act like species plants. Or maybe I should say they don’t act like hybrids. They are slower to spread and increase, lacking the sort of vigour that causes hybrids to produce lots of offsets. And when hand-pollinated with another yellow that resembles the species, their seeds produce more yellow-flowered, species-like plants. Also, they have a stronger, truer auricula fragrance. (Or do I imagine this?)

Below, examples of yellow auriculas that are not the species, including show self ‘April Moon’ and border ‘Kate Haywood,’ photographed in 2017.



Of course, true auriculas are not all identical. There is variation within the species. Maybe all of these are true. Or do the corn-coloured ones have a little too much farina around the eye? (And a little too much corn in the colour?)


Centuries of breeding with Primula auricula have produced a vast range of impossibly beautiful flowers. Along with the red selfs, blue stripes, and green-edged fancies, every collection needs a few true auriculas. Some more seeds just came in the mail and I started them today.

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Strep Notes 2018: Leaf Propagation

Good leaves for propagation are mature size, or close to it; that is, they have started producing flower buds, or soon will. Healthy leaves are best, of course, but are not always available.  A small piece of green tissue, even a square centimeter, may be capable of producing a new plant.

streptocarpus leaf cuttings

Leaves can be cut lengthwise through the middle rib or crosswise. New growth arises from the damaged tissue (the cut) in contact with moisture.


streptocarpus leaf cutting

Additional small incisions may provide more new growth points, but would not usually be necessary.


propagation containers for streptocarpus leaf cuttings

Roots will form first. The propagation containers have a little potting mix for the roots to grow into. One advantage of a clear container is that roots are visible soon after they begin to grow, usually in around 6-8 weeks.


cuttings with moistened sphagnum over potting mix

The cuttings are inserted into moistened sphagnum, above the potting mix. The sphagnum helps maintain a humid environment. The cuttings could be inserted straight into moistened potting mix. The containers are then loosely closed or covered. A little warmth may hasten new growth, but room temperature is usually fine.


streptocarpus plantlets from a leaf cutting

New plantlets can stay in the propagation container until they are large enough to handle easily, but they can also be removed when very small. Cut or break off each leaf with a bit of root, or pot up the entire mass and have a large plant sooner.


roots and leaves on a streptocarpus leaf stood in water

A leaf stood in water may root and produce new plantlets. This leaf with two flower stems rooted while standing in a small clay vase. The old leaf and stems can be cut off and the little plant(s) potted up.


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Auriculas of 2018, Part 1, New Seedlings from Show Types and Named Cultivars

These are new seedlings, two or three years old, blooming for the first time. The three plants with round flowers and broad stripes have ‘Seen a Ghost’ parentage. ‘Fleet Street’ is a parent of at least two of the others.


In this mixed group are a couple of picotees, a couple of doubles (or semi-doubles) that were slow to open and better in bud than in bloom, and a red-orange self.

A group of stripes, including singles, semi-doubles, and flowers with extra petals in the centre. These seedlings had the good fortune to be planted on the cool side of a large  planter.


The pink one here, in two pictures, was the most-photographed auricula last year. I never did capture what made it stand out, and my editing attempts haven’t helped much. Something in the fade to the edge gave it a silvered effect. This was its first year, and next year it may come back with stronger, more decided colour and thicker paste. In this instance, I hope it doesn’t. The other pink, though, could stand some improving. The little blue has a round, white centre without needing any farina. A neat, compact plant, flowers that open flat. It comes from seed out of a blue self called ‘Watchet.’ I don’t remember the parentage of the other two. I’ll add that information after they bloom again this spring.


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