Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: English Primrose
Primula vulgaris

Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula (PRIM-yew-luh) (Info)
Species: vulgaris (vul-GAIR-iss) (Info)

Synonym:Primula acaulis
Synonym:Primula malacoides

One vendor has this plant for sale.

19 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Alpines and Rock Gardens

under 6 in. (15 cm)
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

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

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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive shortcm On Aug 5, 2004, shortcm from Wilmington, DE (Zone 7b) wrote:

I love these little plants (at least mine are little). I always buy up the ones on the "leftover" table at the nurseries in August. They bloom first just before Easter, here. Mine are in hot clay soil, partial shade, and not much moisture; they don't thrive, but they do survive. A neighbor has them in mostly shade and they get HUGE (12" wide by "8 tall); she probably waters and feeds them regularly.

Positive karenlang On Dec 12, 2003, karenlang from San Rafael, CA wrote:

My plant looks just like this one in the foliage and size and height of the blooms. But mine has blossoms formed with two light pink lobes on top and three deep pink lobes below, and it is still blooming in December. There are only two flowers per stem usually. The plant is about 17 inches across and the blooms are about 2 1/2" long and wide. If anyone knows the correct name for mine, please let me know.

I am in North Bay Area of California inland between bay and ocean. I have it in a pot. It didn't like the cold and so it is indoors now (Dec). Last winter it survived (barely)outside and now has bloomed nearly the whole year (from spring until now). It got mealy bugs in the summer from? No other plants in my garden have them! I feed it African Violet food regularly. It is a lovely and durable plant. My mother had it in Southern California before she died and she called it "African Primrose."

Neutral Baa On Aug 30, 2002, Baa wrote:

Has mid green, broadly lance shaped, toothed leaves with conspicuous veins. Bears 5 petalled, salverform, scented, pale yellow flowers.

Flowers mainly in February - May

Loves a constantly moist but drained soil in light shade. It will tolerate some alkalinity and sun where happy. Easy to grow, it even enjoys clay!

One of the first plants to flower in the year and has been used in the past as a medicinal herb. Among the things it was said to cure are; madness, scrofula and headaches. Today you can buy herbal Primrose tea (please, get advice first from a trained herbalist!) which is suppose to ease; migraines, arthritis, rheumatism, insomnia and as a blood cleanser. A root decotion is sometimes used to treat coughs and other mild respiratory problems.

A strange custom in Germany is; the Primrose is supposed to grow where there is hidden treasure and that it has some power to open locks (if anyone has more details on this I'd love to hear it please)

One from England is that a 6 petalled flower is lucky for marriage and love so keep it!

Neutral karenmarie On Apr 29, 2001, karenmarie from Fall River, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8
Height: 9 in Spread: 12 in
Type: herbaceous perennial
Flowers: Blue, purple, yellow

Comments: English Primrose produces tight bunches of
flowers (Vis. 1) in the spring. The flowers may be single
or double. They require a moist, well-drained soil and
partial shade. When the plants are grown in the sun they
require regular watering.

Propagation: Seed or division. Divide the clumps as soon
as they finish flowering.

Cultivars: This listing contains cultivars described in
catalogs as either P. acaulis or P. vulgaris.
'Blue Jeans' - Gray-blue flowers striped with dark
'Double Primrose' - Yellow, variable, semi-double
'Orient Star' - Interesting flower colors and color
combinations, flowers can be wider than 2 inches.
'Pageant Mix' - Wide selection of flower colors.
'Silver Lining' - Flower petals have a white edge.
'Spectrum Series' - Flowers are lacy and edged with


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

Carlotta, California
Chowchilla, California
Clifton, Colorado
Wilmington, Delaware
Kalona, Iowa
Dracut, Massachusetts
Lexington, Massachusetts
Hilton, New York
Ithaca, New York
Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Springfield, Virginia
Federal Way, Washington

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