Auricula Summer CareAugust 25th, 2022
The wild species form ‘Primula auricula’ originates from the rocky mountainsides of the Alps and other mountain ranges in central Europe, and although you could say that the thousands of cultivars we grow today are a far cry from the original species their environmental requirements are almost identical.
They thrive in small spaces, whether that is a crevice in a mountain or a small terracotta pot in your garden. Their natural environment allows for good drainage, and although the do receive rain and snowfall in these areas it drains away easily, allowing the plant to only take up what it requires to hydrate rather than wallowing in excess water.
The temperature is relatively cool in the summer, and frosty in the winter. Surprisingly to most, Primula auriculas are very frost hardy, in fact they thrive after a cold winter, noted on the RHS hardiness guide as H5 (-10 to -15) in the UK.
Therefore it isn’t a surprise that they sulk in a hot, muggy British summer. But more often than not, that is all it is, a heavy sulk and come the autumn they will perk up again. A sad Auricula in the summer is not unusual or anything really to worry about. Follow the few simple rules below and your plants will survive the heat
- Always position in an East facing face. West or North is acceptable but never South. The hot summer sun is their nemesis. Shade in the summer is essential
- Ideally keep in terracotta pots, these allow the roots to breathe and remain cooler than any other material
- Water when needed, on average twice a week depending on the heat. In the summer overhead watering isn’t a huge issue (in the winter it can cause rot) if you prefer to water from underneath make sure you don’t forget about the plants in the water and only leave them in their bath for 20 minutes. That’s enough time to take up what they need.
- Water in the early morning or late evening.
- Avoid overwatering to compensate for the heat. If their leaves seem floppy and dehydrated during the day, wait to water until the evening. Often floppy leaves on Auriculas isn’t dehydration it is simply overheating.
- If you’re plants are housed in a greenhouse or polytunnel make sure to shade it in the summer and damp down the greenhouse on hot dry days. This is a preventative against red spider mite (two spotted mite), they can sometimes plague Auriculas and they thrive in dry hot conditions.
- Check the temperature of your hose/water before watering. In recent 35-40 degree heat the water in hoses heats up considerably and can burn the leaves.
To summarise, Primula auriculas are cool season lovers, so in the summer try and keep them shaded and watered well when they need it.