These colourful plants (ht 30 cm) are usually known to known to gardeners simply as 'polyanthus'. These have rosettes of puckered-looking, deep green leaves and umbels of flat flowers much larger than their dainty cousin Primula malacoides, in a wide array of brilliant hues - including reds, yellow, blue, maroon, pink, white, orange and purple. They almost look unreal! They seem best suited to growing in low, broad containers, and they certainly are so useful for a quick fix of instant colour during the cooler months, as like Primula malacoides, they bloom for an extended period from winter till late spring. Strictly speaking, they are frost-hardy perennials but they are almost always grown as annuals in Sydney and many cultivars are bred for this purpose. The original plants were derived from a cross between Primula vulgaris, Primula elatior, Primula juliae and Primula veris and have been grown since the 17th century. They can be grown from seed or purchased as seedlings from nurseries in autumn. They grow well in part or dappled shade, and prefer humus-rich, moist soil.