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MissAnthrope's avatar

Gardeners: Primrose help, please?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21399 points ) February 9th, 2009

I have this weird thing for rescuing unwanted plants in grocery stores, Wal-Mart, etc. I found some pretty potted primroses on clearance at Kroger, marked down to $0.50. The plant was flowering and looked very healthy when I bought it.

I consider myself a horticulturist and generally I have a green thumb, but today I was shocked to find the plant almost entirely wilted and its overall color paler than normal.

It gets mostly indirect light, but plenty of it during the day. It said on the sticker that primroses like bright sunlight, is this the problem? I’m careful not to over-water.. the soil has felt moist so I didn’t water it for a few days.

I gave it a little water and put it in front of a sun lamp, but it hasn’t perked up any. Any suggestions?

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15 Answers

gooch's avatar

Full sun & heat

gailcalled's avatar

Normally primroses belong outdoors, in a moist shady spot and need zone 5 and above. The junk at Kroger are throw-aways. Hence the $0.50 bargain.

Primrose

susanc's avatar

When you do buy plants at the grocery store, think of them as cut flowers, to be composted when they fade. ‘Cause they will. Don’t blame yourself. Gail is, as usual,
right

MissAnthrope's avatar

Gah, come on. Someone, some positivity, please! How do I save the plant?

marinelife's avatar

Primroses can’t thrive inside as gailcalled said.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I guess I just don’t understand how the thing was perfectly healthy inside a grocery store, yet it died when I took it home. :( I keep thinking that if it was fine there, I can make it fine here. Well, poop. Now I feel bad for taking a plant to its demise.

marinelife's avatar

If it is not all the way gone, plant it outside. Even if it dies back, it might come back in a few weeks.

Primrose grown in hothouse—>Primrose shipped to store where it can manage a few days—>Primrose bought by hapless sucker.

They are such wonderful, cheerful harbingers of spring. I used to get a bunch to use for table decoration for brunch or lunch, and then put them outside afterwards.

MissAnthrope's avatar

It’s been way too cold here to have most plants outside (barring the perennials and whatnot that aren’t bothered by freezing temps in winter), so, from what you’ve all said, that won’t work. Basically, it’s getting lots of sunlight-like light, as I have one of those sun lamps people use to treat SAD. It’s also being kept pretty warm at the same time. I’m hoping that will do it.

marinelife's avatar

4b -25 to -20 F -28.9 to -31.6 C
5a -20 to -15 F -26.2 to -28.8 C
5b -15 to -10 F -23.4 to -26.1 C
6a -10 to -5 F -20.6 to -23.3 C
6b -5 to 0 F -17.8 to -20.5 C
7a 0 to 5 F -15.0 to -17.7 C

Source

gailcalled's avatar

Often, greenhouse primroses are used as centerpieces during the cold months for parties. They look green, fresh, and bright. I bring them home and they croak.

The sun lamp may cheer you up but not the primrose. Try pruning it back hard so that most of the energy goes into keeping the root system alive. Then move it to dappled shade or only AM sun when weather permits.

(“Hapless sucker” is a term of affection.)

MissAnthrope's avatar

Are you sure about the lamp? I started an early herb garden and my sprouts seem to be loving the sun lamp.

gailcalled's avatar

Apples and oranges, my dear. You can raise primroses from seed, which is a whole different kettle of fish, you should excuse the mixed metaphor.

Read my primrose link above. They helped generate the expression “delicate flower.”

And for 50 cents, try anything. The sticker lied, remember. Most primroses, at least in zone 5, do not like direct and bright sun all day long.

marinelife's avatar

Oh dear, based on gailcalled’s comment, I feel the need to clarify that when I spoke of “hapless sucker” I was, in fact, talking about myself. I have been down this, ahem, primrose path many times.

Here is the one that used to get me every time.

gailcalled's avatar

@Marina; I accept that expression as a loving one since it applies to me also. I sometimes think I should skip the middleman and simply plant cash.

susanc's avatar

@Gail: I wish I had planted cash instead of investing in the stock market.

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