Family

Primulaceae

What is it?

Spring flowering, yellow perennial.

Size

Height: up to 15cm. Spread: 30cm

Where to grow

Borders, hedgerows and meadows in full sun or semi-shade.

Distribution Map

Blue dots: native
Red dots: introductions
© BSBI & BRC, reproduced with permission

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The soft yellow flowers of Primose need little description and are a welcome sight in spring, especially when nestled in their foil of textured leaves.

Keep primroses away from hot sun and dry soil and they're easily grown, rewarding you with the first scented 'roses' ('prima rosa') of the year. When happy, this little perennial will gently increase and spread each year and a small patch in the garden can live for many years. It has been used in the breeding of Polyanthus (a primrose hybridised with a cowslip) and many garish and flouncey varieties are available. For the more discerning gardener, look out for 'Hose-in-hose' with two rings of petals, 'Jack-in-the-green' with an outer ring of small leaves and 'Francisca' with greenish petals.

Primroses are common and widespread in the wild, flourishing on cool shaded banks, in woods and hedgerows, and on sea and mountain cliffs. There is evidence that some woodland populations in East Anglia have declined following a series of hot, dry summers over the last 40 years. 

Perfect for a variety of garden situations, including the wild garden, orchards, hedge bottoms, under trees and in the front of the herbaceous border. Primroses prefer a fertile, moist soil in sun or semi-shade and clumps benefit from frequent division. They are also easily increased from seed.

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