Primula vulgaris
Common Name: primrose 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Primulaceae
Native Range: Western and southern Europe
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Pale yellow
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates close to full shade. Plants prefer cool summer climates where they tolerate full sun conditions, but they appreciate significant afternoon shade in the heat and humidity of a typical St. Louis summer. Plants do have somewhat better tolerance for summer heat than some other species of primula. Plants often perform best with a spring-summer mulch that helps maintain soil moisture and keeps roots cool. Plants thrive in placements along streams or ponds and tolerate some wet soils. Plant foliage may depreciate in the heat of the summer. Propagate by division in spring after bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Primula vulgaris, commonly called primrose, is a semi-evergreen, rosette-forming perennial that is native from southern Europe to western Asia. Short-stalked, often fragrant, salverform, pale yellow flowers (each to 1" across) bloom in clusters rising to 6" tall from the center of an open basal rosette of wrinkled obovate leaves with pubescent undersides. Leaves elongate after flowering to 6-8" long.

Genus name comes from the contraction of the medieval name primula veris for the daisy, meaning "firstling of spring".

Specific epithet means common.

Problems

Slugs, snails, aphids and red spider mites are sometimes seen. Botritis, gray mold, root rot, rust, powdery mildew and leaf spots may occur. Susceptible to several viruses.

Garden Uses

Bright spring flowers that grow well in part shade locations including border fronts, rock gardens, open woodland gardens, under trees, along paths, along streams/ponds or in boggy areas. May be an effective edger. Also may be grown in pots.