Primula beesiana

Common Name: Bee's primrose 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Primulaceae
Native Range: Southwestern China, Myanmar
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Rose pink with orange-yellow center eye
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Clay Soil, Wet Soil


Best grown in consistently moist to wet, neutral to acidic, well-draining, rich, humusy loams in part shade. Tolerant of poorly-drained clay soils. Can be grown in full sun in climates with cool summers as long as the soil is not allowed to dry out. Requires afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Readily self-seeds. Hardy in USDA Zones 4-8.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Primula beesiana, commonly known as Bee's primrose or candelabra primrose, is a herbaceous perennial native to mountain stream banks and wet meadows in southwestern China and northern Myanmar. Mature plants form basal rosettes reaching around 1' tall with an equal width. The foliage is oblong to oblanceolate in shape, has finely toothed margins, and reaches around 8" long and 2.5" wide. Flowering scapes reaching up to 2' tall emerge from the center of the rosettes from late spring to early summer bearing 2-4 (occasionally up to 8) whorls of 8-16 flowers. The tops and the nodes of the scapes are covered in a white, waxy powder called farina (from Latin meaning "flour" or "meal") that is produced by minute, glandular hairs. The bell or funnel-shaped blooms are rose pink with orange-yellow centers and can reach 0.75" long and 0.5" wide. The flowers are attractive to butterflies and other insect pollinators.

The genus name Primula means "little earliest one" and is the feminine diminutive of the Latin primus.

The specific epithet beesiana refers to Bees Ltd., a nursery and seed company founded by amateur naturalist Arthur Bulley (1861-1942) in Cheshire, England. Bulley provided the funds for botanist George Forrest (1873-1932) to travel to southwestern China and collect plants suitable for growing in England.

The common name candelabra primrose is often applied to a number of primroses in section Proliferae. They are characterized by having tiered whorls of blooms. The common name of Bee's primrose is somewhat of a misnomer because the company name it refers to is Bees, not Bee.


Watch for aphids, slugs, and spider mites. Susceptible to botrytis and a Phytophthora infection specific to primroses called primula brown core root rot.


Pond or bog edges, moist areas of alpine gardens, cottage gardens, mixed border fronts, woodland gardens.