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Saturday, May 16, 2009

How to Propagate Primulas or Primroses

My primulas (primroses) do a pretty good job of self-seeding to propagate themselves, I have discovered, but to ensure plenty of new primulas for next year and later this season, I am experimenting with leaf propagating them.1. Cut a strong, healthy leaf from your primula.
2. Flip over the leaf and look at how the veins grow upwards and out from the center vein.
3. Use sharp scissors or a blade to divide the leaf into 3 pieces, being careful to cut in the same direction as the veins grow. You will have 3 "chevron"-like cuttings.
4. Prepare potting soil to plant in.
5. Make a wide hole in the soil with a spoon or dibber.
6. Plant the leaf cuttings, pointed side down.
7. Water well.
8. Place in bright location with indirect sunlight. Don't let the cuttings dry out.
9. Wait for new plantlets to grow from the leaf cuttings.

UPDATE 06-15-2009:
The success rate of this form of propagation is very poor. None of them made it. The cuttings mostly got eaten by soil critters and died. On a happier note, each of my primulas has naturally divided into more plants, without any help from me. Hm... I guess I'll just let Nature do it's work when it comes to primulas.

Happy Gardening!

How To Propagate Plants


Matt Mattus said...

I think you may be confusing Primrose ( primula species) with Cape Primrose ( Streptocarpus) which one can propagate from leaf cuttings. It's my understanding that although Polyanthus primroses ( such as the species which you are showing here) cannot be propagated by leaf cuttings, but that indeed, a few species within ( now I will get truly geeky!) petiolaris group of primula, can be propagated by entire leaf cutting, but only if the leaf remains intact and the plantlet will form only at the base of the leaf. said...

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the comment! I didn't know that there was a different variety to this kind that actually can be propagated by leaf cuttings. That is really interesting!

The funny thing is that I discovered that the kind of primrose I have kind of becomes a weed after a while. It propagates by itself like crazy and you basically HAVE TO separate it out into more plants in order to help it maintain the semblance of order/beauty. Otherwise it becomes a very messy looking weed-like cluster that hardly flowers at all.

I wonder what would stimulate the plant to flower. I seem to have poor success making the primulas flower as prettily as it did when I bought it from the gardening stores.

Any ideas? You seem to be quite the expert!