When to plant auriculas – the key dates to watch for

Gardening expert gives advice on how to water plants

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Auriculas are alpine plants, coming in a range of colours with semi-evergreen foliage. They feature salver-shaped flowers which are usually pink, purple or yellow, and auriculars jewel-like blooms make them a popular plant for gardens across the UK, with several different types to choose from. 

Different types of auriculas include alpine, show, double and borders.

According to Gardeners World, show types include green and grey-edged flowers, while alpines are either gold- or light-centred.

While border types are better suited to ordinary garden conditions.

Traditionally you may have seen auriculas in theatres, or shelving similar to bookshelves.

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So when should you plant auriculas? Here are the key dates to watch for

You can plant auriculas from May all the way through to September, with flowers blooming from April to May.

When planting auriculas, bear in mind they need alpine growing conditions.

So, they need free-draining soil and to be placed in a cool, airy spot, out of the midday sun.

Often a shelving system is put together – known as a theatre – with staggered pots of auriculas.

Traditionally auriculas are grown individually in terracotta pots.

However you need to take care that they don’t dry out, Gardener’s World suggests using a mix of one part grit to three parts soil-based compost to prevent this.

Auriculas need a careful watering regime due to their Alpine nature.

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This is why many gardeners opt to grow them in pots rather than in the bare ground, to maintain a free-draining soil environment.

In spring, Gardener’s World recommends using a dose of high nitrogen fertiliser, followed by weekly watering with tomato fertiliser during the flowering season.

Water directly into the soil to avoid damaging the leaves.

In winter, keep watering to a bare minimum.

Remember to deadhead and remove any loose leaves when you find them, to prevent rotting.

Five auriculas to grow according to BBC Gardener’s World

  • Laverock Fancy – a classic alpine auricula with a strong stem, bearing a cluster of ornate, yellow-centred flowers, surrounded by white, red and green
  • Gwen – a classic white-centred auricula with purple and pale mauve scalloped petals
  • Angostura – a rich purple double-flowered cultivar. Peer inside the folds of wavy petals to see a secret gold stripe at the centre
  • Pang Tiger – is a ‘white fancy’ type of auricula. The flowers have a dark maroon border, with a white and yellow centre, dusted with powdery ‘farina’
  • Gold-Laced Group – a Polyanthus primula with flowers in shades of dark red to near-black, edged with gold ‘lace’

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