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Cortusa matthioli

Cortusa matthioli

alpine bells

Common name alpine bells
Family primulaceae
Life cycle perennial
Flowers pink or violet
Size 10"
Light part shade
Cultural notes moist garden soil
From seed germinate at room temperature, with exposure to light
detailed seed-starting info below

We grew the plants in these photos from seed labeled Primula cortusoides. Since our plants don't look like photos that species on the web, we suspected that it was something different. A helpful reader set us straight. Interestingly, we already had independently tried to grow Cortusa from (hopefully properly labeled) seed, so far without flowering results.
At any rate, this is quite a nice little plant. It has deep pink flowers, starting at the end of May in our garden. So far, this species is holding up much better for us than tall-stalked primulas: they seem to take sunshine better, and the foliage stays attractive even through dry conditions. The plants are only in their second year, so I'll withhold full judgment until next year.
Since it's a woodland plant, it may be a challenge in the long term to keep them happy in our sunny garden.

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

About my plant portraits
PlantLinks to other web pages about Cortusa matthioli

Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. Seed from '02 trade (straight species). Baggy 70F (22d) - 35F (6w) - 70F (15d). No germination.
  2. Seed from '03 trade labeled 'Primula cortusoides'. Baggy 70F with light (65%G, 6-10d). Don't survive long in baggy - transplant ASAP
  3. Seed from '04 trade (ssp pekinensis). Baggy 65F (58%G, 11-27d)
  4. Seed for 'mix' from NARGS '12/'13 exchange. Baggy 70F (90%G, 6-13d)
  5. Same seed as above, cold-stored. Baggy 70F (87%G, 6-12d)
  6. Same seed as above, cold-stored. Baggy 70F (~100%G, 5-10d)

First batch of seed probably not viable. Finnicky as seedlings.

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