Primula -Primrose

The word Primrose comes from  the French primerose and Latin prima rosa, meaning “first rose”. It grows as a ground cover in open woods and shaded hedgerows. To view the many varieties check out:

My wife just bought a non hardy variety from our grocery store and with its arrival came the feeling that spring is finally on its way. That’s how great these plants are! The common variety,  my favorite, is called primula vulgares and has pale yellow flowers and is very hardy. There are many hybrids in all sorts of bright colors, including several shades of pink, red, yellow, purple and white. They double up and can and be easily divided.  My second favorite variety is called Primula Japonica –Candelaba primrose.  A gardening friend gave me a flat of small seedlings and they have thrived in a damp shady area. This variety blooms later on in early summer. I like to collect their seed and spread it about in the late fall. The first time I did this I got a profusion of new plants so now I do it every year.

I also like to dig them up and put them in terra cotta pots and bring them indoors. I find the plants cheer up the house and me as we wait for even warmer days to arrive.

Primula obconica- store bought primula- Non hardy.

Primula obconica- non hardy variety

Primula Japonica potted up & brought indoors

10 Year old primula divided & brought indoors

Primula Japonica in shady site

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7 Responses to Primula -Primrose

  1. Per Lofving says:

    Hi Don – I like the idea of Primrose as a ground cover in a shady area. What else do you recommend? – particularlly for an area that may also get a little traffic from kids, dogs, etc. Per

    • Don Statham says:

      Hi Per, I think the Primula Japonica would work best for you. I also like sweet woodruff as a ground cover. Vinca works well. Both will spread.The primulas will die back in hot humid weather but are perennials.

      Best, Don

  2. Hello Don
    This is Primula obconica and it is indeed not hardy. Also some people are allergic to the foliage of this species. I got a rash on my belly from carrying flats of this without a shirt on!!!
    Best, Michael

  3. Deborah Banks says:

    Your indoor japonicas look great. I never thought about bringing them inside. I noticed today that my p. veris and some of the polyanthus are greening up, making me hopeful for some early blooms. Can you believe this weather?!

  4. Simon says:

    Love the Primula obconica, this is one of my favourites. I have loads in my garden! cant wait for spring as I know once they start flowering spring is here! Mind you here in the UK it is just raining everyday.

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