Primula denticulata 'Lilac Globe'

Common Name: drumstick primula 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Primulaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.25 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Lilac with yellow center eye
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil


Best grown in evenly moist, rich, light-textured, well-draining loams in part shade. Tolerant of clay soils and wet soils. Intolerant of dry soils or drought. Prefers a sheltered position in the garden, such as against a rock wall or building. Does best in climates with cool summers and can struggle in areas with hot, humid summers. Cover with a thick layer of winter mulch in areas lacking consistent snow cover. Remove the mulch before the foliage emerges, but protect the tender new growth from frost. Propagate by dividing clumps in early spring or by seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Primula denticulata, commonly called drumstick primula, is a herbaceous perennial native to the Himalayas, where it can be found growing in moist, high altitude alpine meadows, grassy slopes, and forest openings at 5,000-13,000' above sea level. Mature plants can reach 1' tall with an equal spread. The oblong leaves can reach up to 6" long and 1.5" wide and form a basal rosette. The foliage has very small teeth along the margins and the undersides are covered in a dense layer of fine hairs. Upright flowering scapes reaching up to 1' tall emerge in early to mid-spring from the center of the rosettes bearing spherical heads of small flowers. The flowers can exhibit a range of colors including lavender, purple, pink, and white, all with a yellow center eye, and are suitable for use in fresh cut arrangements.

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

The specific epithet denticulata means "finely toothed" in reference to the margin of the foliage.

The common name drumstick primula refers to the shape of the inflorescence of this species.

'Lilac Globe' is a drumstick primula selection that features globe-shaped clusters of bright lilac flowers with yellow center eyes on upright stalks reaching 16-18" tall. The basal clumps of foliage will reach up to 18" wide.


Generally free of diseases. Watch for spider mites, aphids, and slugs. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid this plant.


Suitable for a protected spot in mixed borders, cottage gardens, alpine gardens, rock gardens, and bog gardens. Can also be planted in containers or along streams and ponds. Mix with spring bulbs for a showy, early season display.