Julia Primrose - An Unpretentious And Colorful Primrose In The Garden

From among the sections into which a large genus of garden primroses is divided for convenience, the Julia section is considered quite modest in its variety. Although this group of primroses includes only the species Julia primrosa and their hybrids, it is still considered one of the most popular and indispensable. Pillow-shaped and surprisingly lush, Julia primroses are captivating in their longevity, hardiness and ease of care. They are very easy to grow, even for those who lack experience. And the bright, dazzling pink color and early season start make this section's primroses almost irreplaceable at all.

Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Julia's Primrose 'Sneeuwwitje' (Sneeuwwitje). © lichtnelke_de


  • Description of Julia primrose
  • Hybrids and cultivars of Julia primrose
  • Julia primrose in garden design
  • Growing conditions for primrose Julia and its hybrids
  • Care of Julia primrose
  • Propagation of Julia primrose

Description of Julia primrose

In the Julia primrose section, one of the most celebrated and sought after, but also the most modest in species diversity, includes only the Julia primrose and garden hybrids derived from crosses of this plant. Today there is much controversy about the status of the Julia primrose. Some scientists classify it as a synonym of larger species, in particular, include this primrose in the group and sometimes in the section of spring primroses.

Others still classify Julia primrose as an independent and bright species. But despite the scientific controversy, the Julia primrose remains one of the main favorites of gardeners around the world, and hardly the easiest recognizable early flowering plant in the entire Primula genus.

Julia primula in nature is found mainly in the eastern regions of Transcaucasia. This plant is accustomed to inhabiting mountain forests and rather damp, cool sections of mountains - near streams and waterfalls.

Primula Julia or Firstfruits of Julia (Primula juliae) is a short-rooted, stoloniferous perennial that forms pillow-trees of very thickly arranged rosettes of root leaves. The rosettes are pressed to the ground, growing densely, sometimes the structure of individual "units" can be difficult to see in the cushion.

This primrose is constantly growing, expanding and creating ever denser clumps. The maximum height of Julia primrose is limited to only 10 cm, but the bush looks very smart and not at all miniature. After all, in the width of the turf grows up to 30 cm. The rhizome is quite short, wispy, easily recognized by the brown color of the roots.

The leaves of Julia primrose pleasantly surprise not dark, but a light color with a cool hue. They do not appear until mid to late blooms, but they unfold quite quickly. The leaves are only up to 3-4 cm long and sit on very long, 6-7 cm long, thin, ascending or prostrate winged petioles. The rounded apex, heart-shaped base and crenate neat edge accentuate the beautifully wrinkled surface with a brightly penetrating network of veins. The leaves of Julia primula may be ovate, bud-shaped, or rounded in shape; they are always entire.

Julia primula blooms very brightly, the flowers appear large and sparkling against the background of the leaves. Reaching 3 cm in diameter, they bloom only one at a time. Like the petioles of the leaves, the reddish pedicels are very long, up to 15 cm, allowing the flowers to tower over the bush.

Flowers are typical of primrosperms. The long, up to 2 cm long tube is combined with a broad corolla, the petals of which are flaunted in an obovate shape with a deep notch. The flowers reach 2 - 3 cm in diameter. In the center of the flower is the obligatory yellow spot-eye, which looks quite catchy. In the Julia primrose, the flowers always look up, in favorable conditions they are able to cover the young leaves completely at the peak of their flowering.

Flowering of this type of primrose begins before the leaves are released. The timing of flowering of Julia primulas is one of the earliest. The first flowers bloom as early as April, the leaves do not begin to unfurl until the middle of the flowering period. Usually the Julia primrose blooms for more than 3 weeks, until mid-May, but the specific length of bloom depends on conditions in each spring and on the climate, starting late in regions with harsh winters. Under favorable circumstances and in the absence of prolonged droughts, a few brightly colored repeat flowers may bloom on the bushes in the fall.

Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Frequently, plants of western selection are labeled and sold as Juliae Hybrids. © さとう

Juliae Primrose Hybrids and Varieties

The classification of plants derived from crossing Juliae Primrose with other primroses is not easy to sort out. Hundreds of hybrids are referred either to a separate species of primrose, Prudentia, or to a group of Julia primrose varieties.

Prudentia primrose (Primula x pruhonicensis), like Julia primrose, in official classifications remains a plant with unresolved status, disputed as a full species. Today, the name Prugonica primulas is very rare; the cultivars are often considered part of the broader group of Julia hybrids and are not singled out separately. But until the name is abolished, all cultivars of cushion-shaped primroses, blooming abundantly and very early, showing more rounded, broad leaves, often with unusual coloration, can be counted among the cultivars of the Prugonitsky primrose.

The majority of primroses now presented in catalogs represent a group of unnamed Julia primrose hybrids, obtained by crossing with the common primrose. Most often plants of western selection are labeled as Juliae Hybrids, sometimes other variants are found - Primula x juliae, Dark Juliae, Lilac Juliae. Almost all varieties of the Primula Juliae hybrid group are obtained by English breeders.

The most popular cultivars of Julia primula belong to:

  • Betty Green (Betty Green), an early flowering variety with a carmine, muted purple shade of color;
  • Riga 6 (Riga 6), a pink variety with a salmon shade of color and a large yellow spot in the center;
  • "Snow Blossom" (Snow Blossom) is an early snow-white variety with shining petals and almost emerald leaves;
  • "Drumcliff" (Drumcliff) with white flowers with wavy, densely overlapping petals;
  • "Sneeuwwitje" (Sneeuwwitje) is a white and fast-growing variety;
  • "Blue Rihaub" (Blue Rihaub) is a purple with a cool hue;
  • "Flens Burg" (Flens Burg) with delicate bright pink flowers, it is valued mainly for the yellow color of the young leaves, standing out nicely from other primroses;
  • "Wanda" (Wanda) with a rich mauve color;
  • "Wanda Romeo" (Wanda Romeo) with a cool lilac color and a dark spot near the eye;
  • "Wanda Red Velvet (Wanda Red Velvet) - carmine variety with thin white edging;
  • Lady Green (Lady Green) with lemon-yellow flowers color and especially large teeth on the edge of large heart-shaped leaves;
  • "Innisfree" (Innisfree) with dark crimson flowers;
  • Avondale (Avondale) is a mottled pink with white ripples variety.
Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Julia's Primrose "Riga 6" (Riga 6). © chimlon
Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Julia primrose "Lady Green". © agsvicgroup
Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Julia primrose 'Wanda'. © Ballyrobert Gardens

Julia primroses in garden design

The title of one of the most resistant primroses is received by the Julia primrose for a reason. It is an absolute leader in unpretentiousness, which will fit even in the garden for the elderly or in compositions for urban and cottage gardens. Minimal care is a virtue no less important than ornamentalism. Choosing a primrose for a garden in which they want to keep seasonal work to a minimum, most often stop just for the magnificent Julia primrose.

This is an absolutely versatile species of primrose, which can be used for spring accents and decorating ensembles with beautiful pillows of leaves. Julia primrose will fit equally well in natural and austere compositions, will cope both with a purely seasonal task, and with the role of permanent decoration on a full flower bed or mixbord.

This plant, which can be used in any style. The only limitation on the possibilities of application in garden design is imposed by the size of the plant. Julia primulas are certainly foreground plants, low, but not inconspicuous partners and soloists. The attractiveness of this type of primrose retains literally throughout the active season - from the early first flowers until the arrival of winter. The foliage does not lose its beauty even in the height of summer.

In the garden Julia primrose will be appropriate:

  • as a spot or a cluster in the lawn, glades of groundcovers, decorative bays;
  • as a primrose in a relay of early flowering or for spring spots;
  • for framing shrubs and trees of ornamental type;
  • in a border or as framing the front edge of compositions;
  • as one of the plants of a low mixed border around a platform or pathway;
  • in alpine slides and in rockeries;
  • by bodies of water.

This cushion-shaped species of primrose combines well with other species of small primulas, such as the fine-toothed primrose. But when selecting partners for the Julia primrose, you should first of all be guided by a range of plants that prefer similar growing conditions or have compatible flowering times. Perfect companions for cushion-shaped primroses are Arends stone flowers, muskrats, narcissi, violets.

Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Julia primroses look very effective on alpine slides and in rockeries. © Rome Maxime

Growing conditions for Julia primrose and its hybrids

The main advantage of Julia primrose is its hardiness. The plant is so undemanding that, unlike most other early primulas, it can grow even in substantial shade. The shade tolerance of this primrose allows it to decorate even the most secluded corners of the garden with beautiful shrubs.

Love for secluded light does not prevent Julia primrose from being a universal plant: contrary to the popular opinion, it can grow in sunny places and semi-shade, not only in shadow. In sunny sites, this species of primrose suffers from heat, losing its drought tolerance and requiring stable soil moisture and watering.

In the penumbra and shade, the plant is completely drought tolerant. For the charming Julia primrose, it is better to choose secluded, sheltered places, in which early flowering is always more abundant. Choosing a place in a rockery or rock garden, it is worth looking for such areas where the plant will not be illuminated by the sun at noon.

Soil for this type of primrose will suit almost any, except extremely light and stony or, conversely, overly dense soils. Julia primulas love nutritious, loose, organic-containing, moist garden soils. Before planting, it is advisable to dig the soil, adding compost or humus to improve the structure. Planting Julia primrose better in slightly acidic soil.

Julia primrose is planted at a distance of 15-25 cm from the neighboring plants, depending on the size of bushes.

Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Julia primrose "Avondale" (Avondale). © Jespers Planteskole
Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Julia's Primrose 'Old Port'. © heathen1220

Care of the Julia primrose

With the spectacular flowering primulas, it is difficult to find a species so undemanding of care. Julia primulas actually do not need care and grow on their own, being content with minimal care and simplifying garden care. Divide the plant only when desired, it does not lose the ability to bloom beautifully for decades.

Pouring only for Julia primulas growing in the sun. Early-spring fertilization can be avoided, but annual fertilization helps to enhance flowering. Loosening the soil, weeding and mulching are also optional for adult plants and are only done when the soil conditions need changing or when compositions are neglected.

Julia primulas belong to winter-hardy species. It is believed that they can withstand frosts up to -30°C, adult plants do not need protection for the winter in the middle belt. Only young one- and two-year-old plants are additionally protected by mulching. Such protection is a necessary condition when growing on blowing grounds.

Julia primrose - an unpretentious and colorful primrose in the garden
Julia primrose is a very winter-hardy plant

Propagation of Julia primrose

Unlike other primulas, Julia primrose is very rarely propagated by seeds. The plant is well renewed even from miniature divisions, so to increase the collection it is enough to divide adult bushes. It is desirable to let the plants grow their greenery without touching them for 4-5 years (before division).

Division of primulas is carried out not only in early spring, but also after flowering or in September. Pillows are dug out, inspected, and the growth points are highlighted. The easiest option is to divide the clump into 2-3 parts, each of which is immediately planted in a permanent place, abundantly watering and mulching for the winter.

If a large number of seedlings are to be obtained, separate out individual strong rosettes with a good stretch of roots. Plants should not be planted immediately in their intended location: primroses are raised in greenhouses, protecting them from bright light and allowing them to take root. Then the plants are transferred to open beds in the shade, and to a permanent place only transferred in autumn or the next spring. To protect for the winter, young primulas must be mulched with compost.

If you want to get plants from seeds, they should be used immediately after harvesting, although you can sow for the winter or pre-freeze the seeds for 3-4 months before sowing in the spring. Sow primroses in separate beds or in greenhouses. Once the plants get stronger and produce a couple of leaves, they are pickled and planted at a distance of 10 cm between bushes on the breast for completion.

Yulia primrose seedlings can blossom only in the second or third year. For the winter, the young seedlings should be protected by a high layer of mulch from compost or dry leaves. If possible, you can also cover the plantings with lapnik. It is desirable to plant primroses in a permanent place not earlier than the second year, with a standard distance between plants.

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