My garden, my pride!

Primulins Are Little Fairies

, Admin

Ordinary, exotic, delicate, unusual, magical - what epithets the primulins, once known as chirits, are not worthy of. These plants are characterized by unique symmetry of leaves, unprecedented graceful flowering and an extremely humble disposition. Everything about this crop is unusual. And everything is beautiful. Primulines are plants for those looking for compact favorites "not like everyone else," those unique crops that will earn the title of pride of place in a room collection. Despite its status as a rare beauty, primulina is so easy to grow that it won't cause much trouble for beginners, either. Although its virtues are not yet fully appreciated, it is still one of the best "new wave" plants.

Primulins are little fairies
Primulina (Primulina fimbrisepala). © ブログプロロフィール

The unconventional beauty of the rare beauty

The beauty of primulina is just beginning to be discovered, and the deserving popularity of the plant is still out of the question. Spirulina can be found only recently in the list of promising, but almost unknown and rare species. And let it be mentioned only in the list of new trends and exotics, even today many call it the most unpretentious, magnificent and incomparable room crumb. And although the name "primulin" is not yet known to everyone, those who have already discovered at least one of these plants or seen it at exhibitions, will forever remain in the ranks of loyal fans of these flowering fairies. There are hundreds of stories of people falling in love with Primulines at first sight and returning home with an entire collection.

Primulines (Primulina) represent in indoor culture a group of rare southeastern exotics found in nature only in Asia. All new species of these beauties are still being discovered even today in mountainous areas of China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and India, though the majority of primulines came to us exactly from China and Thailand. They belong to the family Gesneriaceae.

The primulines were only introduced into culture a little over two decades ago, and a change in their classification a few years ago was seen as a veritable revolution in botany. And no wonder: as a result of modern research, the monospecific genus Primulinus was enriched with more than a hundred species, which everyone knew as Chirita. The beloved name is still used for primulins today, often referring to them as Chirita primulinae or even Chirita. But whatever you call these amazing little ones, they are still plants that are special and easily recognizable even in spite of their great diversity.

The amazingly beautiful rosette of leaves of primulines is often compared with Uzambarian violets, but such a comparison is only appropriate in size and general type of development. In fact, primulina does not resemble violets at all; many species and varieties have leaves that are radically different (although there are some primulinae that can be mistaken for senpollias from a distance). It is a plant with a unique symmetrical arrangement of leaves, which are almost always arranged perfectly in pairs, each leaf has its own "opposite". This symmetry makes the rosette look strikingly ornate and solemn, and the plant itself is perceived as a small miracle.

The rosettes in most plants are stemless, in some species the stem is formed, but it is shortened. Primulines are constantly spreading wide, with some varieties and species having rosettes that can reach up to 40 cm in diameter. Some species produce lateral plants, creating a kind of tiers. But one need not fear that the primulina will become sloppy or deformed with age: even large plants retain their symmetrical beauty, and a fairly large selection of primulines allows one to pick a plant to one's taste - from large rosettes to miniature crumbs of dwarf size. Primulines reach a height of only 20 cm, while many plants are limited to much more modest parameters.

The leaves of primulines rarely resemble senpoles. Suprotectively arranged, on short to medium-sized petioles, they can be either slightly downy and glossy or densely hairy, velvety. The linear, ovate, spatulate, rhombic, tongue-shaped, or rounded shape varies depending on the variety and species. Most primulines have foliage decorated with silvery or light veins and stripes. It is believed that the beauty of the patterns on the leaves of Primulina cannot be conveyed by a photograph: the light stripes and cushion shine, looking in person like flowing, spilled silver on the leaves. These effects are somewhat reminiscent of precious orchids.

Primulins are little fairies
Primulina dryas 'Hisako' (Primulina dryas 'Hisako'). © Al

The primulina blossoms would also compete with orchids in their elegance, although the same complex forms and structure are out of the question. The flowers of this plant are often compared then to gentians, then to gloxinias. White or light pastel tubular flowers with a narrow tube, five-petaled and asymmetrical yawn are decorated with contrasting dark purple or purple stripes. Inflorescences on tall pedicels, always towering above the leaves, are tassel-shaped, loose, and carry from 3 to 7 flowers. The flowers in the inflorescences are also arranged symmetrically and sparsely, which only emphasizes the beauty of the individual graceful "gramophones".

The color palette of Primulina is not limited to the basic, species-specific white and lilac tones. Due to active selection and breeding of varieties, as well as constant additions to the list of species, the possible color variations include pink, white, yellow, blue, blue, and lilac tones. The basic coloring is almost always gentle, light and pastel. But the veins are brighter and more contrasting.

And the most amazing thing is that with all this elegance, the primulina can also boast in longevity, even with phalaenopsis. The plant blooms almost continuously, except for a fairly short dormancy period. Species primulines usually bloom in summer, continuing to bloom in winter only when backlit. The cultivars flower almost throughout the year except for the winter dormancy period.

Primulina species

Natural Primulina species may not be as popular as cultivars, but they are also quite common and can boast of their high decorative value.

Primulins are little fairies
Primulina tabacum (Primulina tabacum). © Tsveto4ek
  • Primulina tabacum (Primulina tabacum) is the only plant species that originally belonged to the genus Primulina. Today, tobacco primulins are fondly referred to as true primulins (all other plants have migrated from the chirite). It is an endangered, protected Chinese plant that stands out for its rounded leaves, whose fragrance resembles mint and tobacco at the same time. They create a stemless rosette, bright green, broad, almost round. The beautiful wavy toothed edge is perfectly symmetrical with respect to the central vein, and a well-defined network of veins is showing on the surface. The plant produces long peduncles, bearing up to 7 tubular flowers with a narrow tube and corolla a little over 1 cm in diameter, consisting of 5 rounded petals decorated with ray-like stripes.
  • Primulina Tamiana (Primulina Tamiana, formerly the plant was known as Chirita Tamiana (Chirita tamiana) is a semi-miniature species with leaves most of all primulines resembling violets - fleshy, pubescent, oval-round. Rosettes are strictly symmetrical, compact, flower stalks up to 20 cm high, bearing 5-7 white flowers with dark blue-violet stripes.
  • Primulina tandem (Primulina gemella) is a dense-leaved variety with neat, small, oval plates sitting in rosettes dense and symmetrical, forming almost tiled circles. The rich color of the leaf plates and lettuce veins, their velvety surface, the ability to constantly produce daughter rosettes and turn from one rosette into a tiered plant, are unique. The peduncles bear only 1-2 flowers of white color each.
  • Primulina Chinese (the correct botanical name Primulina dryas is Primulina dryas, but more popular today remains Primulina sinensis or nickname - "silver primulina") is an ornamental-leaved species with symmetrical rosettes, all attention in which is drawn to the beauty of patterns on the leaves. Suproposed, they form a rosette up to 20 cm high. The leaves are oval, up to 10 cm long, with a serrated edge, a bright or silver color and a dense velvety pubescence, which emphasizes the beauty of the chaotic network of silver patterns. Flowers up to 4 cm long, lavender, gathered in inflorescences on tall reddish pedicels.
  • Primulina linearifolia (Primulina linearifolia) is an abundant flowering species with light pink or whitish cream flowers, stiff silvery-tipped, dark lanceolate leaves.
  • Primulina longgangensis (Primulina longgangensis) is a unique species with very narrow, lanceolate, bright green leaves and pale purple flowers with a yellow band at the top of the yawn and dark veins below.
  • Primulina minutimaculata (Primulina minutimaculata) is a relatively new species, introduced only in 2008, with tongue-like, dark, glossy velvety leaves and unique short light veins that create a "twig" in the center of the leaf.
  • Primulina spadiciformis (Primulina spadiciformis) is a compact species with a very striking coloration of broad glossy leaves and large, broad-veined, lilac flowers.
  • Primulina subrhomboidea (Primulina subrhomboidea) is a rare species with a bright blue-lilac corolla coloration of flowers with a white tube and beautiful glossy, lanceolate leaves.

Primulina varieties

Selected forms and varieties of primulina, most often of hybrid origin, are much more popular than species plants. A wide range of color palettes, leaf shapes, and sizes allows for collections of equally beautiful, but so unlike one another Asian beauties. When buying, pay attention to the fact that usually the variety is indicated as a species name, instead of the usual names of the variety next to the name of the plant (for example, Primulina tamiana cv. Aiko to the abbreviated Primulina Aiko). This is largely why it is not always easy to distinguish species primulina from variety primulina, as catalogs write the name of the variety as species.

Primulins are little fairies
Primulina 'Aiko' (Primulina 'Aiko'). © Al
Primulins are little fairies
Primulina 'Mineko' (Primulina 'Mineko'). © Lacey
Primulins are little fairies
Primulina 'Destiny'. © Caerulean Skies

The best primuline varieties include:

  • "Atsuko" - a primulina with emerald, satiny rounded leaves with a serrated edge, creating a symmetrical, considered a model rosette, and with very beautiful large bluish-lilac bells with white throat and yellow stripes;
  • "Aiko" (Aiko) is a primulina with elongated oval velvet leaves in a compact rosette and tall flower stalks with very large, bright yellow flowers with a peachy patina and red spots at the throat;
  • "Junko" is very similar to the previous variety, but smaller and with wider leaves;
  • "Kazu" is a compact primulina with velvety lanceolate leaves and very large lavender flowers, with a prominent lower lip;
  • "Kitaguni" - a variety with cream-yellow flowers and silvery-green medium-sized leaves;
  • "Hisako" - a mottled beauty with wide leaves, coarsely dentate along the edge, decorated with almost precious silver veins, flowers - lavender with lemon throat;
  • "Mineko" is a variety with bright lilac bells with elongated, large corolla petals, white throat, orange-yellow spots and stripes, and oval, almost smooth and bright leaves;
  • "Vertigo" is a unique variety with dazzling blue flowers with a white throat, which also has mottled, toothed leaves with a herringbone herringbone diverging central stripe that is equally spectacular;
  • "Destiny" is a beautiful mottled variety with broad oval-lanceolate leaves with a serrated edge, decorated with silver stripes in the center and light patterns across the surface, contrasting strikingly with the almost black border (the maroon pubescence is only visible up close);
  • Sweet Dreams: a variety with large, glossy olive leaves and milky-pale very light flowers;
  • Betty: a variety with glossy leaves entirely covered by thin silver stripes, with a dark fringe and central vein, and bluish flowers;
  • "Souvenir" (Souvenir) is a compact primitive with narrow-oval leaves, a bright silvery-salad stripe down the center, and light lilac flowers;
  • "Marble Leaf" is one of the favorite varieties, with oval heart-shaped leaves, decorated with a serrated edge, luminous silver stripe and along the central vein, and with delicate pink-lilac flowers with a yellowish throat;
  • "Jade Moon" (Jade Moon) is a miniature primulina with almost succulent miniature rhombic leaves in a symmetrical rosette and lavender large flowers (even adult plants are limited to 15 cm in diameter);
  • "Moonlight" is one of the most aquarelle varieties with elongate-oval bright leaves with a light marbled pattern and tall flower stalks with unconventional flowers whose dark purple corolla edge goes to an almost white base, with white throat and orange spots;
  • "Piccolo" is one of the most popular compact varieties with beautiful dark leaves, a luminous lettuce-olive stripe down the center and lilac flowers with orange spots in the pale yawn;
  • "Diane Marie" (Diane Marie) is a mottled compact variety with oval, large-toothed, dark emerald leaves with whitish-silver and marbled patterns and large lilac flowers with dark mauve and yellow stripes;
  • "Huba" (Huba) is a variety with large ovate leaves with an oval edge, dark green coloration, and a large silvery net almost imperceptible in the center of the leaf and very striking closer to the ray;
  • "Lola" is a beautiful variety with coarse rhomboidal leaves with a steel cast in a model symmetrical rosette and dark purple bell-shaped flowers with bright orange and purple stripes;
  • "Nimbus" is a compact oval-leaf variety decorated with delicate, gramophone-like white and purple flowers, decorated with nacreous stripes;
  • "Rachel" (Rachel) is a miniature variety with almost lanceolate, small leaves decorated with a whitish central stripe and lilac flowers with stripes and a spot of yellow and orange;
  • "Patina" (Patina) - compact primulina with oval-tongue leaves, on which the mother-of-pearl spot and the effect of bronze patina - pink pubescence (lavender flowers with orange stripes) stand out brightly;
  • "Erika" (Erika) - soft lilac A watercolor variety with venation patterns on petals and elongated wrinkled leaves;
  • "New York" - a variety with very broad, drooping, bright leaves decorated with light veining and loose inflorescences of watercolor white-pink flowers, decorated with a crimson outer bump on the tube;
  • "Periwinkle" is a variety with glossy, pointed bright leaves and very large lavender flowers.
Primulins are little fairies
Primulina subrhomboidea. © Gabi_Munich

Home Care for Primulina

Primulins are some of the easiest to grow and most adaptable beautifully flowering indoor plants, easily forgiving all care blunders. The more optimal conditions and the better care these beauties receive, the more beautiful they become. In fact, it is much harder to kill a primulina than it is to succeed in its cultivation. When consultants and vendors say that the primuline grows the same way as the senpilla, they are being a little deceptive: the primuline is much less demanding, not so dependent on light, and tolerant of cold temperatures. It even puts up with infrequent watering. It is a touching but surprisingly resilient plant that simply cannot help but impress with its talents and character.

Lighting for primulina

This plant is delicate and delicate, which is quite evident in its very high sensitivity to direct sunlight. But otherwise in terms of light requirements Spirulina is very plastic, feels equally well on light sites and in the penumbra.

One of the main advantages of the plant is the ability to grow entirely on artificial doskladku. With phytolamps or daylight lamps for 8-12 hours, primulines flower as well as on a windowsill. Such possibilities open up a whole new perspective for using primulines in decorations, making collections on separate shelves, etc.

Decreasing the winter light usually puts the plants into a short dormant period. If it is compensated for, primulines will flower even in winter (but such measures are not necessary).

Comfortable temperature regime

The primuline will be comfortable in any room in which you are comfortable as well. Throughout the year it is quite suitable for normal room temperatures, moreover, the plant is not too afraid of jumps and drops, is not sensitive to heat. The main thing - do not allow the air temperature to fall below 0 even for a short time and below 10 degrees Celsius for a long period. And to any other conditions primulina will adapt. Optimal temperatures for primulina are 21-26 degrees in spring and summer and 15-20 degrees in winter.

Primulinae are not afraid of draughts, but it is better to protect them from cold streams. Access to fresh air, frequent ventilation improves the appearance of leaves.

Primulins are little fairies
Primulina Tamiana (Primulina Tamiana). © Lacey

Watering and Humidity

The most important task in watering primulina is to create stable conditions with uniform soil moisture. The plant does not like not only dampness, but also too abundant watering, short-term overwatering. But there is no need to fear drought: the plant perfectly tolerates even complete drying of the soil, not to mention the absence of a single scheduled watering. But still primulina blooms the more beautiful and longer, the more stable the humidity is. To achieve almost continuous flowering, it is better to conduct regular, moderate watering during active development, allowing the substrate to dry out in the upper layer. During dormancy, watering is reduced and only light importance is maintained.

The main difficulty in watering primulines is to avoid the slightest contact of the leaves and base of the rosette with water. Many florists grow primulines on bottom watering or by submerging pots in water to soak the ground clump. Like senpollias, primulins can also be cultivated with drip irrigation.

Watering primulins should only be done with warm water or at least water at the same temperature as the air in the room. Watering with cold water is destructive.

Humidity of the air is not the most important thing for this plant. Primulina feels better in the rooms with average values (not less than 35%), but in dry air it will not die (perhaps only the tips of the leaves will dry up slightly). Spraying the plant is not allowed even in glossy varieties, but other measures to increase air humidity and compensate for the heating devices will only benefit. But there is no need to create tropical conditions for primulines.

Primulins are little fairies
Primulina (Primulina sclerophylla). ©ブログプロロフィール

Fertilizers for Primulina

Universal compound fertilizers can be used for this plant. Apply them with a standard frequency - once every 2 weeks, but the recommended doses are better to reduce by half. Period of fertilization must be equal to the period of active vegetation, do not water during dormancy.

Perfect fertilizers of long action can be used for this plant.


Withering plant parts - leaves, pedicels, separate flowers - must be removed as soon as possible. Unlike violets, it is not necessary to break off the flowers, but they can be cut off.

Transplanting and substrate

It is very important to choose the right substrate for primulina. The easiest option is to choose a ready-made type of soil mixture designed for senpolias. But any loose, light, porous soil, most of which consists of peat and loosening additives (vermiculite and sphagnum are welcome) will also be suitable for primulines. If you compose the mixture yourself, prepare it on the basis of a double portion of peat and leaf, sod soil and sand, taken in equal proportions.

Selecting a container for primulin is not such a difficult task. These plants with too large a pot actively grow leaves, but do not flower, and the risk of overwatering is greater. The golden rule of selecting containers for primulines is: choose a pot with a diameter that is exactly 3 times less than the diameter of the leaf rosette. This is a win-win situation. Even the largest primulines are planted in small containers. This makes it possible to place dozens of plants on one windowsill. The height and diameter of the containers should be equal (or in favor of the width).

Potting annually at a young age, but adults only as the pots are filled and the soil is depleted. Primulines are carefully transplanted by removing the bottom free layer of substrate and trying not to make contact with the roots. The depth level of the root neck is left unchanged. If the lower part of the stem is bare due to the death of the lower leaves, and primulina rises "on the stem", you can pour the substrate so that the plant was immersed in the lower leaves. At the bottom, be sure to lay drainage. It is desirable to add to the soil any available loosening additives.

Primulins are little fairies
Primulina spadiciformis (Primulina spadiciformis). © Nadiatalent
Primulins are little fairies
Primulina longgangensis. © Christopher
Primulins are little fairies
Primulina linearifolia. © KENPEI

Diseases and pests of primulina

The greatest danger to primulina are all kinds of rots, which spread rapidly along the root neck and leaf cuttings when overwatering or getting wet. They can be controlled only by cutting out damaged tissues (with charcoal treatment), transferring to dry conditions, emergency transplanting in compacted and moldy soil. Treatment with fungicides usually does not help. If the plant rots at the base of the rosette, it is difficult to save it.

Pests on primulines are very rare.

Prevalent problems in cultivation:

  • blight or dry spots when watered with cold water;
  • yellowing of lower leaves in adult plants due to natural renewal of rosettes, in young plants due to need for transplanting;
  • leaf curling in heat or on sunny location under direct sunlight;
  • greening when flowering is poor - improper fertilization or too large a pot.

Primulina propagation

This is a fairly easy plant to propagate, which can be obtained both from seeds and simply by rooting leaf cuttings like the Uzambarian violet. Rooting leaves with petioles can even be done in water, and if desired - in sand, peat-sand mixture or substrate under a hood or film. The release of a large number of offspring can be expected in a month and a half after planting, they are separated and set aside as they grow. Portions of a leaf cut along the lateral veins can also be rooted.

Many primulin species, especially when mature, produce daughter plants at the base of the mother rosette. And they can be detached, rooted and grown as independent plants.

Seeds of primulines are sown in late winter or early spring, in regular substrate or a mixture of soil and sand in equal quantities. The seeds are scattered over an even substrate and not covered with soil. After sowing, containers under glass or film are kept in the brightest place and at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Germination in heat occurs in 2 weeks (the lower the temperature, the slower the process). Young primulines are exposed to supplementary light with at least 12 hours of daylight. Water drip irrigation without affecting the plant itself. Prick the primuli as the first true leaf appears. The plants should be handled very carefully as they break easily.