Auriculas make good garden plants, provided you have a good loam or a clay-based soil. They will
not tolerate dry sandy or thin chalky soils in which they will dwindle and die out. Although partial
to a soil with some substance to it, Auriculas do not like to be too wet in winter; heavy clay soils
need to be well worked and the drainage improved. In heavier soils Auriculas should always be
planted with a collar of grit or gravel underneath the rosette. When Auriculas come into flower, if
the weather is inclement, flowers can be protected from rain and frost with an open-ended cloche.
Auriculas can, of course, make delightful potplants. Auriculas should be grown in a low fertility,
loam based compost. We mix 50% Medium Peat with 25% Grit and 25% Loam. Lime and 12 month
slow release Osmacote should both be added at 150grams per 100 litres of compost. Never overpot
Auriculas; their natural habitat is clefts of rocks in the Dolomites. Young plants should be grown in
7cm, mature plants in 9cm pots Auriculas in pots are best kept under glass. No heat is needed in
winter and the vents in the greenhouse must be opened on a daily basis. After plants have flowered,
plants should be shaded through the hot summer months.
If a glass house is not available a cold frame is adequate, provided it is ventilated daily and the pots
are placed on a bed of gravel. From October to late February plants should be kept almost dry.
Watering and feeding in a warm, sunny spring should commence in mid-February. Use a high potash
low nitrogen fertiliser every two weeks till flowering finishes. If light levels are poor, delay watering
till the end of February. Avoid overhead watering as this will spoil the blooms and wash off any
decorative farina from the foliage. Watering from March to June should be liberal. During the
summer do not overwater and always water in the evening when it is cool. Auriculas hate having
their roots sitting in hot soggy compost; the roots will literally drop off Auriculas should be repotted
annually in late August. Remove all the old compost from the roots, split the clumps if necessary
and repot. After repotting all plants should be treated with the chemical Provada as a preventative
against the dreaded vine weevil.
Plants benefit from the removal of dead leaves at all seasons, but particularly in winter, as decaying
foliage is then most likely to become infected with botrytis. Plants should be deadheaded after
flowering as open pollinated seed is of little value and seed production consumes valuable energy.
When deadheading, remove merely the flower. Cutting the flowering stem at base can result in
fungal infections. When the stem has withered, it can be gently plucked without any risk of infection.
All Auriculas flower March-May, are sweetly fragrant and grow 15cm tall and 15cm in spread.