Guide to Auriculas
THE AURICULA: A GENERAL GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS
If cultivation is a new venture, it is vital to remember that despite their exotic look, the Auricula originates from high altitude in the Alpine regions of Europe.
The Auricula does not appreciate a hot, sunny position but a cool airy position at all times. Greenhouses, cold frames, wall frames and the like will all need continuous ventilation with shading required during May to September to avoid the hot summer sunlight. If you intend leaving them in the greenhouse through the summer being placed on ground level possibly shaded from upper shelving will help keep them cool – or even better to place them in a shady spot in the garden in the summer and bring them back in sheltered through the winter months ready to enjoy in the Spring months. If they are planted in the garden a dapple shade / semi shade location is ideal, Or where it gets morning sun but shade after midday to keep it cool.
Good soil drainage is essential whether they are grown in a pot or in the garden- a light, free draining soil suitable for alpine plants. They are completely hardy and will grow perfectly well in the garden if you wish, though particular show varieties, (Grey edge and Green edge Auricula’s) their florets may be spoilt by the rain and are much more suitable for pot culture and are for the true enthusiast with a little more experience.
Through the winter they will go through a period of virtual dormancy which is natural to them. Exceptionally sunny days-even in the winter- can cause Auricula pots to dry out, but a careful early morning watering will be all that is necessary. The signs of their reawakening early in the Spring becomes apparent with their centres gradually unfolding, revealing their new growth. Caution with the watering is still advisable with warm days often preceding night frosts. In the heat of the sun in Summer months, if your plant shows signs of wilting check if your plant is moist, if it is dry do give it a good drink, but if your plant is wilting in the heat yet still moist move it somewhere cooler or shadier do not over water it, it will pick up come the evening when the temperatures cool down.
In general we recommend the following soil mix as a general guide which we use:
1 measure John innes No.2
1 measure Multipurpose compost
½ measure small grit or vermiculite
We tend to completely refresh the soil of our plants every year or every other year, this gives them adequate new goodness, and often they benefit from being split up. Remember any offset will be true to the variety name of the mother plant.
We use the traditional clay pots, which allows the roots to breath and soak up excess water, and look far more in keeping with the antiquity of the plant, but do remember in summer terracotta will absorb any moisture causing the plant to dry out far quicker! Any material pot is absolutely fine, you may prefer something more contemporary ie. Plastic, metal or ceramic.
Good luck and enjoy growing your new specialist Auriculas
Simon & Louise