Dainty Darlings – Auriculas11th June 2013 • In The Garden • Stephanie Donaldson
I’ve just added two blue auriculas to my small collection of these enchanting flowers. I love auriculas but they aren’t the easiest plants to grow. They need to be kept cool and dry overwinter – too much moisture and the roots will rot. I overwinter mine in a well-ventilated cold frame with the pots standing on a bed of damp sand. In early spring I start to water them and give them regular liquid feeds to encourage flowering. They are then displayed in an old stone sink and on shelves in a shady corner where I can see them from the kitchen. Traditionally they were displayed in auricula theatres which kept the flowers covered so that they wouldn’t be damaged by rain- unlike mine! Liquid feeding continues after flowering to make sure the plants are growing strongly when they are divided and repotted in a gritty loam-based compost in June. They then spend the summer outdoors in a cool shady spot until returning to the cold frame in the autumn. I endeavour to keep track of the varieties – sadly I don’t think I can afford to label them all with the gorgeous blue & white china labels from Roelofs & Reubens, but will just save them for the star performers. p.s. It’s the brick wall that’s crooked! In our hilly location 18th century boundary walls were built with upright piers and sloping rows of bricks between them.