Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Auricula Primrose, Mountain Cowslip, Bear's Ears
Primula auricula

Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula (PRIM-yew-luh) (Info)
Species: auricula (aw-RIK-yoo-luh) (Info)

Synonym:Primula alpina

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Alpines and Rock Gardens

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral bluespiral On Jan 29, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Following are some germination details I hope will be helpful:

1)Sow @ 18-22*C [~64-71*F] for 2-4 wks; then move to -4 to 4*C [24-39*F] for 4-6 wks; then move to 5-12*C [41-53*F] for germination.

2) Sow at 20*C [~70*F]. Seed germinates within 3 months.

3) 2nd edition of Norman C. Deno's book, Seed Germination Theory and Practice - Deno's research agrees with #3 method.

Based on the foregoing methods, it might be a good idea to split your seed into 3 batches and germinate as follows:

Batch 1: Wintersow (Refer to DG's Wintersowing Forum)

Batch 2: Stratify in the refrigerator for a month (or up to 3 months) before moving the pot to 70*F for approximately 3 more months

Batch 3: Sow the 3rd portion around 20*C (~70*F) indoors

For Batches 2 & 3, I would use the baggy method from Norman C. Deno's book, Seed Germination Theory and Practice (2nd edition), from which I have heavily quoted and paraphrased the following:

"[Prepare your sowing medium by combining 1 part perlite (best) or sand (not too sharp) for drainage; 1 part milled sphagnum moss or peat for their anti-fungal qualities; and 1 part soilless potting medium]...Just before sowing, surface-sterlize...the medium by pouring boiling water over the medium three times allowing to drain each time [and cool before sowing]. [Plastic pots are easier to clean and sterilize]."

"...sow the [tiny]...seeds directly in pots on top [do not cover] of surface-sterlized soil and enclose immediately in...baggie...[to] insure constant and lightly moist conditions [Deno prefers the] commercial product Baggies...because the polyethylene film is thin and allow[s] significant diffusion of oxygen into the bag. The Baggie is closed at the top with a wire Twistem, but not so tightly as to totally seal the bag since aerobic conditions must be maintained."

"Pots enclosed in a Baggie MUST ALWAYS BE KEPT UNDER FLUORESCENT LIGHTS AND NEVER EXPOSED TO DIRECT SUNLIGHT. Due to "the wave-length of ...sunlight [and] tungsten filament lights...seedlings [can be cooked in as little as 30 minutes]. At the time he wrote this edition, Deno was using "plain daylight reading type fluorescent lights...[which were] connected through a timer...set to give twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark."

Neutral Baa On Aug 30, 2001, Baa wrote:

Perennial from the Alps in Europe. Spoon shaped leaves form light green rosettes and the whole plant including the flower can be covered in a white meal.

Flowers are held well way from the leaves and look like yellow velvet with a white 'eye'.

Flowers March to May and sometimes again in September.

Primula auricula is one parent to many hybrids that are available and have a colour range from green through to almost black.

Likes a well drained soil with protection from direct sun. Dislikes hot summers so will need shade during the hottest part of the day.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Carlotta, California
Ellicott City, Maryland
Sherwood, Oregon
Puyallup, Washington

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