Primula is a large, diverse, and complex genus that contains between 430 and 500 species of absolutely gorgeous flowering plants. The members of this genus go by several common names, such as Primrose, Polyanthus, Cowslip, or Oxlip. They originate from the temperate northern hemisphere, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Himalayas, the tropical mountains of Ethiopia, and temperate South America.
Primulas are very popular ornamental plants worldwide, coming with various vibrant colours and very few demands. Many stunning Primula cultivars have gained the prestigious Award of Garden Merit. Some of these are ‘Crescendo Blue Shades’, ‘Crescendo Bright Red’, ‘Francisca’, ‘Miller’s Crimson’, ‘Postford White’, ‘Wanda’, P. beesiana, P. bulleyana, P. denticulata, P. elatior, P. florindae, P. marginata, P. prolifera, P. ulverulenta, and P. sieboldii.
- Besides the Primula varieties mentioned above, many others deserve our attention. The most charming buddies include the P. auricula squad, ‘Belarina’ group, P. capitata, Common Cowslip, P. japonica ‘Apple Blossom’, Orchid Primrose, ‘Perle von Bottrop’, ‘Romance’, ‘Sunset Shades’, ‘Zebra Blue’, and P. × bulleesiana.
- These plants belong to the Primulaceae family. They share this family with flowers from other interesting genera like Androsace, Dionysia, Hottonia, or Soldanella.
- Primroses (P. vulgaris) have a long history of medicinal use, being highly effective as a treatment against rheumatic pains, paralysis, spasm, cramps, cough, colds, inflammation, headaches, or skin wounds.
- The flowers and young leaves of Primrose species are edible. People use them raw or cooked in soups, salads, conserves, and others. Both parts work as great ingredients to make tea or syrup. Their foliage is significantly rich in vitamin C.
- Primulas are versatile, filling any dull spot from your garden or home with no effort. They make for wonderful additions to bog gardens, city gardens, cottage gardens, rock gardens, meadows, beds, borders, streams, ponds, underplantings, and containers.
- Primulas grow in a wide diversity of environments. Most species and varieties usually appear in various habitats that range from boggy meadows to alpine slopes.
- Some Primula species are mildly toxic to humans if touched or ingested. Likewise, they are more dangerous to cats and dogs. For safety purposes, make sure you grow these flowers in a spot where your curious kids or pets cannot reach them.
- The ideal companion plants for Primulas are Astilbe ‘Bridal Veil’, Bleeding Hearts, Blue Lily Turf, Carpet Bugle, Columbine, Dog Tooth Violet, Dwarf Iris, Great Masterwort, Hellebores, Hosta, Japanese Burnet, Narcissus, or Siberian Bugloss.
Primulas Features: An Overview
- They are mainly herbaceous perennial flowering plants. Depending on the cultivar, Primulas can reach from 6 to 20 inches (15-51 cm) in height and 8 to 20 inches (20-51 cm) in width.
- Their evergreen foliage consists of simple, ovate to obovate to spatulate, and pale to dark green leaves. The leaves have short, often winged petioles and form somewhat waxy basal rosettes.
- In general, Primroses bloom throughout the spring months. During this season, they produce numerous spherical, tubular, or umbrella-shaped blooms on stout stems that emerge from their basal rosettes of leaves.
- While their blossoms show up as single or double on some species, most Primulas bear many attractive clusters, rosettes, or whorls. They are usually very fragrant.
- The delicate Primula flowers come in a diverse colour palette. They can exhibit various shades of purple, lavender, pink, blue, red, yellow, orange, brown, or white. Some varieties appear with variegated petals or vibrant colour mixes.
As a general rule, the environmental and growing demands of Primulas will vary from one specimen to another. But do not worry! Once you pay attention to some basic principles, you will have no serious issues with these lovely flowers. Although it all stays in the details, they are very easy to grow and care for in the long term.
The amount of sunlight these plants can tolerate will be different based on the type of your Primulas. If you are growing true species, such as P. auricula, P. elatior, P. veris, or P. vulgaris, they will perform better in fully shaded locations. Hybrid Primulas, however, prefer plenty of sunlight in the morning with some protection during the hot weather or harsh afternoon sun.
When it comes to temperatures, your Primroses will withstand a wide range of conditions. Most hybrid species are typically winter hardy in USDA zones 5 to 7. In colder or warmer areas, many gardeners often grow these flowers as bedding annuals. They also require a chill of winter to survive and bloom, so it is wise to avoid growing them as perennials in zones above 9. Still, some species types are hardy even as far north as the USDA zone 2.
- Compact plant that grows as an annual outdoors in USDA Zones 4 - 8. May be grown as a perennial indoors.
- Easy to grow from flower seeds, early to mid-season type, with 2 to 2 1/2 inch blooms held close to the foliage on compact plants which only grow 4 - 6 inches tall.
- This primrose mix actually contains 12 different colors! Danova has large showy flowers measuring 2 - 2 1/2 inches across.
- Grows best in full sun to partial shade spaced 7 - 9 inches apart
- Sow 4 of these flower seeds per plant and grow in well drained soil. Sow Primrose seeds indoors in late fall or early winter. Use starter trays and a peaty starter mix. Press the Primula Acaulis seeds into the starter mix but do not cover the flower seeds.
- Up for sale is one pack of 100 Japanese Primrose (Primula japonica).
- A perennial for zones 3 to 8, and mild zones like 10, Japanese Primrose create large spike type booms in a range of colors from pink to red to purple.
- Please note that primrose is a bit more challenging to germinate and we recommend you read the instructions below before purchasing.
- Offering 10+ COWSLIP seeds, packaged in a paper seed envelope.
- Germination and growing instructions are clearly displayed on each package for successful gardening every time.
- Grow plants for food or try gardening as new hobby
- Seeds make great gifts for all ages
Pests and fungal diseases will not generally put the life of your Primulas in danger, but some intruders may visit them occasionally. The most common pests that can bother you Primula flowers are spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs, especially when they experience heat stress. If you notice any suspect presence on your beloved plants, you can simply treat them with horticultural oils.
In case of poor air circulation, Primroses become fairly susceptible to leaf spots. This disease shows its presence through brown scars on the foliage and yellow leaves. You can get rid of this problem by removing the unhealthy leaves, then providing them with good air circulation.
Whether you want to grow your Primulas in an indoor or outdoor setting, the planting time is pretty important. For optimal results, make sure you plant your potted nursery flowers in spring. By doing this, you will give them enough time to settle in their new environment and also bloom profusely. If you want to grow them in pots, drainage holes are mandatory.
Like most woodland species, Primroses thrive in relatively moist substrates that come with a slightly acidic pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Moreover, these plants need generous amounts of organic matter to grow healthy and happy. Although they prefer damp soils, most varieties do not appreciate having their feet wet. Because of this, you should not forget about the excellent drainage that organic-rich soils can provide.
In general, hybrid Primulas need more fertilizers than the common species types. Feed your hybrids with a half-strength balanced liquid fertilizer once every two weeks in spring. You can over-feed your true Primula species, so we recommend you fertilize them with the same product only once every year in early spring.
Primroses usually grow at a pretty fast pace, so you must transplant your potted specimens regularly. This process will help you prevent root-bound and also excessive fertilizer buildup. You should repot your plants annually once they have stopped blooming, usually in late spring. All you have to do is look for pots that are one size larger than the current ones, fill them with a standard commercial potting mix, then carefully transplant your flowers in them.
Primulas are typically thirsty flowers that need regular watering to grow at their best. While hybrid specimens do not enjoy soggy conditions or waterlogging, species types are somewhat more tolerant of constantly wet substrates. However, all Primulas will benefit from a good layer of mulch around their roots to help retain soil moisture.
If you want to avoid over or under-watering your Primroses, you must adopt a suitable watering routine. First things first, we warmly suggest you check their soil in-between waterings. When the top-half layer of soil feels dry to the touch, you can provide your plants with a nice drink.
Primulas are so cute and low-demanding that it will be a shame not to propagate them. As always, you can fill your collection with more of these beauties or surprise your family and friends with a lovely gift. Especially when propagation through division and seeds are both simple, fast, and fun methods!
Dividing your Primulas is probably one of the most beginner-friendly methods of propagation. This process will show nice results only if you are doing it after their flowering season, usually in late spring. Firstly, find your favourite spade and dig your plants out of the soil. Secondly, you have to divide their roots into two or three sections, then replant them absolutely anywhere you want. And that’s it!
If you want to start Primroses from seed, you must know that this is a somewhat tricky process. But this should not discourage you at all! In general, the seeds will germinate only if they experience temperatures between 41 and 50 °F (5-10 °C) from sowing to blooming.
For nice results, fill a seed tray with a soaked mixture of vermiculite and sphagnum moss. After this process, throw the tiny Primula seeds over the substrate, then lightly cover them with a sprinkling of vermiculite. Place the tray in a cool location where they can receive plenty of bright, indirect light. If you mist the soil regularly, the germination may occur in a few weeks. Once the seedlings have four true leaves, you can transplant them into their permanent spots.
With so many different Primulas available on the market, it is absolutely impossible not to find one that’s perfect for your garden! Obviously, the hardest part of having a Primula is not caring for it but choosing just one cultivar. So why not try several?
Are you already growing Primulas? Share your experience in the comment section!