English primrose, Primula vulgaris, comes in bright colors and are delightful in spring. Find facts and information on growing and caring for English primrose. They will make your yard and garden come to life.
Facts and Information
English primrose is a perennial with a well rounded form. It grows in Zones 4-8 and is often used in borders, woodland gardens and containers.
English primrose prefers partial shade and fertile, drained soil. The plants will tolerate full sun, even southern heat, if the soil is consistently moist and deep and contains an ample amount of organic matter.
English primrose flowers come in many bright colors ranging with shades of lavender, pink, white, yellow, to reds. Rosettes of evergreen or semi-evergreen leaves are heavily veined and are bright glossy green. They can be planted in the old-fashioned cottage garden, the shade border, at the feet of shrubs, or in a container. Place in odd-numbered groups for best effects.
Good companion plants for English primrose include peony, false indigo, and heart-leaf bergenia.
Planting and Care
In spring or autumn plant 12-15” apart. A slow-release granular plant food can be given in spring. Follow label directions for amount and frequency. Water deeply when the soil is dry. Also, apply 3” of vegetative mulch in summer and winter to help reduce weed seed germination, retain soil moisture, and to keep soil temps stable. Any damaged or brown leaves should be taken off in spring time before any new leaves emerge.
Propagation is done by division right after the plant flowers.
Pests and Diseases include slugs and snails and diseases range from botrytis, root rot, rust, and leaf spots.
Related Species to Consider
‘Cottage White’ is a cultivar with double white flowers on long stalks.
‘Double Sulphur’ bears double yellow flowers.
‘Jack-in-the-Green’ has pale yellow flowers and a green ruff.
‘Marie Crousee’ bears large, double violet flowers marked with white.
‘Miss Indigo’ has double purple flowers rimmed in white.
*Other European Native Primroses include:
Common cowslip (P. veris) and auricula primrose (P. auricula) with yellow or red flowers with yellow centers, for Zones 2-8. The drumstick primrose ( P. denticulata) bears purple or white globelike heads on plants 12” tall. It is hardy in Zones 4-8. Japanese primrose (P. japonica) is a Candelabra type for Zones 5-7. The name derives from the whorls of flowers stacked on each flowering stem.
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