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Primulas gone to seed

I have a primula plant that is purple. I have noticed now off the same plant are white flowers not purple ones. My now passed away Mom once said to cut these off as it means the plant has gone to seed. I was not sure if this is correct.



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Hi Laurie, if seeds from any primula are sown, they usually revert to a form more akin to the wild species (vulgaris), as they cross-pollinate very easily and the wild form has strongly dominant genes.  There is a chance that this is what has happened and the plant has self-sown right next to itself with the original dieing without you noticing.  If you are certain it is the same plant, it could just be adverse weather conditions and the next set of flowers will be 'normal'.  There was a recent thread where a tall type (perhaps a candelabra) produced short instead of long stems and this was probably also related to unusual growing conditions.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Hi Bob the gardener,

    Thank you so much for your information. I found it very interesting. I am just a novice gardener with a tiny yard but I luv to get out in the dirt and plant! I think you are right about the cross pollination. When it has bloomed and faded I will then move it from the container to my small garden for next spring. Thanks so much as I did not think anyone would answer me! Have a great day and happy gardening.image


  • Hi Laurie - there are lots of lovely people here who will answer you! I imagine growing in Canada might be a bit different from the UK but Wikipedia says you have a "fertile land and temperate climate" so good luck ! image

  • Hi chilli lover,

    I am new to the site and felt kinda silly as I think I am not a very experienced gardener  and likely alot of people on this site are very avid knowledgeable gardeners. I would normally ask my Mom as she knew all the garden answers but she is no longer with us. I live near Vancouver, BC just a suburb of the city. It is very wet here currenlty but yes the climate is normally pretty warm for the most part. Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to visit the UK. Thanks so much and cheers.




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  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Hi hollie hock,  Primulas have some of the most complex and interesting ways of pollinating.  They can be wind pollinated, but are primarily insect pollinated (usually by bumble bees.)  Not everything is known about them.  Some species can self-pollinate and some are what is termed "heterostylous" meaning they can have different shapes of flowers with pollen being produced at different parts (thought to have evolved so that several different insects can pollinate them), but each individual plant will have the same morphism regarding its' own flowers.  This polymorphism is probably why breeders have been able to produce the huge number of radically different cultivars we see today.  There are literally thousands of scientific papers concerned with primula pollination!

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Fascinating! image Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Not sure of this is the right place for it, but I'd love to know more about your gardening experience.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Hi GG, Mainly from my ever-present curiosity!  When anything has taken my interest over the years, I've always researched quite deeply into it by reading books and (these days) also doing extensive internet searches.  The internet is a wonderful resource, as long as you critically review the results of searches and don't just look at the first page or two of 'hits'.  I'm also lucky in that I work at a university and am able to access scientific papers which are normally behind a 'pay wall' (although many institutions are now rebelling against these large publishers and are supporting 'open access' publishing, which can only be a good thing for science and anyone seeking knowledge.)

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • You've just confirmed my suspicions about the kind of job you are in. What impresses me most (though if you work, you are younger than me) is that you can remember what you learnt, afterwards! imageimage

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,101
    Gardening Grandma wrote (see)

    ....... What impresses me most (though if you work, you are younger than me) is that you can remember what you learnt, afterwards! imageimage

    That proves he's younger than me too image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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