This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
For garden decoration the Alpine Auricula quite outdistances that known as the florist's type, however fascinating these latter may be to specialists. Of freer growth and flowering, embracing a remarkable colour variation, and possessed of the sweetness of their tribe, the Alpine Auricula never lacks admirers. Chiefly of two colours, the centre of the flower being white or yellow, the marginal colour may be of shades of blue, red, purple, or yellow.
The plants are best raised from seeds which may take weeks or months to germinate; hence a little patience is required, as well as the knowledge of the fact, to save valuable seeds from being discarded. The seedlings, too, are of rather slow growth in the first year or so, and in this respect have much in common with alpine Primulas generally.
Seeds should be sown during the autumn or winter following their ripening. The plants may also be increased by division, an operation best performed after flowering in spring. In undertaking this work it is necessary that the stems be buried to the lower leaves. Good holding loam is what the plants prefer, and with the addition of grit, or old plaster, and some well-decayed manure, the plants ask for little more. Seeds of a good strain always command a high price, and the fact should be borne in mind. Allowing for pathways, about 60,000 plants can be obtained to the acre. [E.H.J].