Basement Dwellers

I brought some Primulas, and a few other plants, indoors in early November. Some were in bloom or in bud; some didn’t look winter-hardy; some could have stayed out had I got around to planting them in time. Now they sit under lights in a cold room in the basement. They grow tall and skinny under artificial light. In the spring, after they are moved outdoors, their soft, old, indoor leaves, stressed by sunlight, even indirect sunlight, may not last long.


yellow auricula

This auricula is from seed out of my first auricula, which has smaller flowers of a brighter yellow. You really appreciate the fragrance of an auricula growing indoors.


hybrid Primula out of P villosa

hybrid Primula out of P villosa

This plant is from seed out of a Primula villosa, crossed with a neighbouring Primula in the alpine garden — maybe an auricula or a Primula hirsuta. The colour is better than it appears, a slightly bluer pink, solid, not at all washed out. It looks like it will make a good garden plant.


seed pods on Primula acaulis (hybrid)

edged blue Primula acaulis (hybrid)

These blue acaulis primroses came indoors in November. They were still flowering; besides, they don’t look zone-3 hardy. I’ll divide them in the summer and plant some in the garden to see how they hold up.

One of the edged blue Primula acaulis (hybrid) set seed. The pods are ripening in the basement. I had seven or eight of these plants and hand-pollinated all of them, but just one took. (I don’t know which, except that it was a pin — you can see the long style and pin-head stigma still attached to the pods: click on the picture to enlarge it.) I’ll sow a few of the seeds once they are ripe — soon, I think; the pods have started to shrink, no longer as plump as in the picture. The parent plants flowered from seed in 6-7 months. If these fresh seeds can be started in February, there could be flowers again in August and September and maybe enough plants to risk a few outdoors over winter.


orange coronation cowslip

This is one of the large-flowered Primula veris hybrids, in yellows, oranges, and reds, known as Coronation Cowslips. I brought this plant in because it didn’t have a label, it was flowering size (a two-year old seedling), and I thought if it could be brought to flower indoors, I would see what it was. It has flowered twice and more buds are coming.


seed pods on Cyclamen hederifolium

Also overwintering indoors, a pan of Cyclamen hederifolium. Outdoors in a milder climate, or in the wild, summer would be the plant’s dry resting season, when it does not put up new growth but ripens its seed pods. I don’t know whether these pods will ripen over the winter in a cold room or whether they will wait for summer heat.


Streptocarpus flower and green seed pod

While there are a few dozen Streptocarpus seedlings in the basement, these two plants were on display in an upstairs window. I brought them down to take their pictures under the lights. The blue has good colour that the camera can’t reproduce accurately — the throat should be white, the petals a strong, solid blue with darker blue netting). The pink has remarkably tenacious flowers. The seed pod is full-length and the petals, which normally would have fallen off weeks ago, have not given up trying to attract that special insect.


This entry was posted in auriculas, Cyclamen, houseplants, indoor gardening, primula, streptocarpus and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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