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05/05/2014 at 21:36

Not sure what is going on by my 4 year old cowslip is just started to look very poorly. It has not done any selfseeding and seems to be on its last legs. Is this the normal span for one? It has never really died back since I got it so it might just burnt it self out.

05/05/2014 at 21:42

Swedboy.  Practically all of the Primulacea family can be temperental at times. Perhaps that is part of the challenge set before spcialist growers. To be honest my friend.  Basically as all you can do is. Provide a damp, not soggy growing base.  For some reason, perhaps not yet discovered.  This family does what it likes.  Failures are not always the fault of the owner/grower.

05/05/2014 at 21:49

Mike's right about there being some temperamental primulas but cowslips don't give a lot of trouble. They're natives and used to our climate. What sort of soil have you got? 

05/05/2014 at 21:51

Hello Swedboy. I am lucky enough (if that is the word) to live in a place where cowslips and all their relatives grow like weeds. They seed themselves by the million and grow in the tiniest and most unlikely cracks and crannies. They cross fertilise with primulas and primroses and oxlips. They need a period of hard frost to make the seeds germinate. They like chalk and limestone and good drainage but grow best in grass. Mine do all definitely die down in the winter, disappearing completely. I don't think that they are particularly long lived but, with so many in my garden, it's hard to keep your eye on one in particular and say how long it's been there. This is all I know about them.

Maybe yours got too wet over the winter and it stayed too warm, so it didn't have a dormant period for a rest, but its roots have maybe rotted with the wet.. 

 

10/05/2014 at 14:52

Mine has never fully died down and tends to start flowering again in the autumn. My soil is not too heavy  (I have no clue to be honest). It is a built up border that was put in before I moved in so might just be garden compost. Have planted a yellow and a red one in a different part of the garden and hope they do better. I suspect it has just run out of steam. My plan was to get it to cross with the native primroses and primulas next to it which seems to do well (and die down)

10/05/2014 at 14:58

I thought it was a native cowslip we were discussing

10/05/2014 at 15:10

It is. There is a red (ok orangy red) variety of it. We used to have the red ones growing amongst the yellow ones at my mother summerhouse in Sweden (they are probably there but I haven't been at the right time of year for years) I think it is a natural mutation rather than a new hybrid as we have had them in Sweden naturally for decades.

10/05/2014 at 15:45
nutcutlet wrote (see)

I thought it was a native cowslip we were discussing

If that's what Swedboy wants to call it, then it's a cowslip.

Swedboy, do you have a photo?

10/05/2014 at 16:01

The yellow type I have http://whisperingearth.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/cowslip.jpg

red type https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3212/4554645585_4a1021edc0_z.jpg

This is to my knowledge a native cowslip (Primula Veris) and the other is a red variety of it.

10/05/2014 at 16:12

They're definitely false oxlip type hybrids from someones garden. They could well come true from seed if a small population had become established and the true oxlip is a parent but they're not pure cowslips, Primula veris. They could even be Primula vulgaris x veris type, again the p.vulgaris type coming from someones garden. If that's the case then it's likely to be sterile. The size of the flower tells you it's not a cowslip, that is P. veris though the red spots tell you it's a hybrid. A very lovely one though. I've got a few P. ve. x P. vu. and they are very similar in morphology to that. If they're still in flower I'll get a photo. I don't know why it died, though. Could be a whole host of reasons. 

10/05/2014 at 16:30

I've got vulgaris/veris crosses. Most of them are too big and 'cultivated' in appearance for the wild parts of the garden where they grow.

and you're right Jim, if they have a common name it might as well be cowslip

10/05/2014 at 16:30

Only two left, the top one is a hybrid, false oxlip and the bottom is a cowslip, P. veris.

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/45298.jpg?width=266&height=350&mode=max

comparing these makes me think yours is a Cowslip x 'Oxlip type' hybrid. Sorry, Oxlip is P. elatior. See photos on this page, not read the text. 

 

By, the way, not all reports say P. veris x vulgaris is sterile. But it isn't easy to tell the P.veris x oxlip type hybrid apart from the P.veris x vulgaris hybrid.

 

 

10/05/2014 at 16:45
nutcutlet wrote (see)

I've got vulgaris/veris crosses. Most of them are too big and 'cultivated' in appearance for the wild parts of the garden where they grow.

and you're right Jim, if they have a common name it might as well be cowslip

 

The hybrids I have are only in the front and were due to my stupidity, I removed the seed beds and scattered them in some grass on the other side (so they're all still small), not thinking for a second they'd have hybridised. There's one down in the entrance to the meadows which is huge in comparison the species. That's hybrid vigour for you.

That reminds me. I bought seeds of Geranium sanguineum lancastriense from Chiltern seeds, not one of them came through pink, all red. They told me, " you need to understand that they're all open pollinated." So I said, "well you need to understand that your description said Geranium sanguineum lancastriense and if they're open pollinated then they can't be Geranium sanguineum lancastriense so I'd like a refund thanks. I got one.

10/05/2014 at 17:00

My red one came from a nursery who sold it with a lable saying Primula Veris Orange with Yellow.

To me it looks like a cowslip but from the photos I have seen its really had to tell the difference. Sadly  I have no photos of my red one only one I found via google.

10/05/2014 at 17:21

A friend , who is a keen gardener, visited the the other day. One of the first questions she asked was if I had any cowslips surviving. She in previous years had many , this year there is no sign of any healthy growth. I am more fortunate as a few of my plants have survived although there is mush where others were. We live in the north of England, normally members of the primrose family do well so perhaps it will be 'one of those years' we will be recalling in future

10/05/2014 at 17:30

Oooh, I want the orange one. Oooh, I do.

11/05/2014 at 12:02
Swedboy wrote (see)

My red one came from a nursery who sold it with a lable saying Primula Veris Orange with Yellow.

To me it looks like a cowslip but from the photos I have seen its really had to tell the difference. Sadly  I have no photos of my red one only one I found via google.

Well, you can't rely on nurseries to label accurately unfortunately. They will more often than not 'dumb down' their labels because people like to 'know' what they're buying.  I have never seen a true orange or red Cowslip. You have to remember that primulas are one of the most promiscuous plants in the garden. They even have two other 'genders'. Pin and thrum. 

11/05/2014 at 14:20

Oh well. I hope it will establish itself where I planted it. It reminds me of home and chat's why I bought it. The old one is still looking very unhealthy. I doubt it will survive.

I'd love the ones I have to cross. I am very fascinated by hybridization.

11/05/2014 at 14:36

Jim Macd, there are definitely red and orangey true Primula veris in the wild, I've seen some twice this year at different sites - and I can tell the difference!

11/05/2014 at 15:01

Hi lg I'm sure you have. According to Stace, 'New Flora of the British Isles', the red-brown form does exist albeit rarely, but I think it's more likely if it's being sold in a GC to be a hybrid, and without a genetic test we'd never know if it were a pure P. veris. However this

https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3212/4554645585_4a1021edc0_z.jpg

 

that Swedboy linked is most definitely a hybrid. And an ex-cowslip.

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