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How to Lift, Divide and Replant Primroses and Polyanthuses

Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.

Primula Belarina 'Goldie'

Primula Belarina 'Goldie'

How to Lift, Divide and Replant Primroses

Would you like to learn how to lift, divide and replant primroses? Primroses are beautiful plants from moist, dappled shade, and in spring, they provide masses of color. They can also be divided easily to make lots of new plants.

Primroses produce flowers on short stems and polyanthuses produce several flowers on a tall stem, but both can be divided in exactly the same way.

When Should I Divide Primroses and Polyanthuses?

Primroses and polyanthuses can be divided either immediately after flowering, which is probably in May, or in early autumn (September or October). If your winters are particularly severe, you'll probably get better results by dividing in May, as this will allow your plants to re-establish before winter hits.

How to Divide Primroses

With the right tools and a little patience and care, dividing primroses is easy. Here's the simplest and most effective way to go about it.

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  1. Choose a healthy clump and lift your primrose with a fork. Make sure to take enough soil so that the roots are not damaged.
  2. Shake off as much soil as possible and plunge your clump into a bucket of water; leave it for at least an hour.
  3. You will now need to tease your plant apart, working with the natural divisions in the clump. Try to untangle roots rather than tear them. You may need to nip the rhizome between the natural divisions with the secateurs to separate them.
  4. Next, trim the primrose roots to about four inches in length.
  5. Cut the leaves in half to prevent water loss, since the plant's roots will be working at reduced capacity.

How to Replant Primroses

Once you've divided your primroses, it's time to replant them in their new position. Plant the small pieces, too! Although there's no guarantee that they will grow, primroses are tough plants, and they may surprise you.

  • If there's an old, woody center to the plant, discard that.
  • Water in your newly divided primroses using a high-potash liquid fertilizer at half-strength.
  • Keep your plants moist and shaded until they are established.

If you follow these simple tips, you'll have lots of new plants and flowers to look forward to next spring. Happy growing!

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Rachel Darlington

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