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Plants Online - Auricula

Plants for sale - Auricula

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Auricula
Hardy Perennial
6 inches.
Various colours, flowers April and May.

The Aricula seems by nature to be pre-eminently a “fancier’s” flower. In times past it has experienced, and perhaps suffered from, the elaborate attentions of breeders and amateurs who were almost monomaniacs; in common with the carnation, the tulip and the pansy and some others it was sheltered and shaded, and its composts mixed by formula like a prescription; and though at present it seldom gets this devoted care, and is not sufficiently common in gardens, yet for those who do grow it it seems to possess a peculiar charm. Its colouring in low and full tones, rich with a velvety bloom, and the fine contrast of the light eye and darker petals, distinguish it from all others of the Primula tribe; and its scent, though of the primrose kind, has a delicate quality of its own.
There are two main classes of Auriculas: the “show” and the “Alpine”; for the outdoor gardener the latter is the sort to grow. It will thrive in any tolerable soil, and is quite content with a north border which gets but little sun; but in unfavourable neighbourhoods it will flower to perfection in pots under the shelter of a clod frame. If the beginner wishes to start at once with plants, he should buy seedlings of the Alpine variety.
It is not difficult, with reasonable care, to raise a large stock of plants from seed. At the beginning of March prepare a box or seed-pan, which should be four inches deep, and be filled half-way with broken crocks, as good drainage is most important.
The soil should be god potting soil, leaf-mould, loam and sharp sand, sifted; the surface should be made firm and smooth, the seed sown thinly on it, and very lightly covered. After sowing, put the box in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse, and cover it with a sheet of glass, or it may have the help of a very mild hotbed with a temperature of about 55°.
The soil in the box must be kept moist, and safe from droughts or strong sun-heat; watering, when necessary, must be done with great address, as the fine seed is easily washed out. When the plants are visible, the green mould which is sure to grow on the surface of the soil should be carefully scratched off with a pointed stick. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, they should be pricked out into other boxes of good sandy compost, and kept growing in a climate that is fairly moist and rather shady than sunny, without being at all damp or mouldy.
If the soil of the garden is kindly, and the winter climate not very rigorous, the plants may be put out in their flowering quarters in the autumn; but where the conditions are doubtful, it is better to transplant again into pots or boxes, and keep under cold shelter till February.
The flowering-beds should be deep and well enriched with old cow dung (if that can be had) and with the ordinary elements of leaf-mould, road-grit, etc. Put out the plants about eight inches apart, make the ground firm, and water in if necessary.
The Auriculas will probably show some flower the first spring, but a full display must not be expected for another twelvemonth, during which time the plants must have due attention in the way of weeding, hoeing the surface, water in very dry weather, and a top-dressing early in the new year of leaf-mould and old manure, light and decayed. After the second or third blooming, the plants will grow leggy, and a proportion will decay and vanish.
To renew the stock, slips or off-sets of the best-looking growths from the collar of the old plants should be taken off when the flowering is over, keeping as much root fibre on them as possible; planted six inches apart in a piece of nice soil in a half-shady position, and helped with the water-can and the hoe, and a light top-dressing or two, until they form good plants, for putting out in October, or for wintering under glass where the conditions are unfavourable.
But, as in almost every case, it is better to import fresh blood and raise new seedlings every other year, than continuously propagate from one stock.

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