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PlantFiles: Fairy Primrose
Primula malacoides

Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula (PRIM-yew-luh) (Info)
Species: malacoides (mal-a-koy-dees) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Fuchsia (Red-Purple)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


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

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

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

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2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Ron_Buddy On Jan 14, 2013, Ron_Buddy from Williamsport, PA wrote:

I am a new visitor to the art of gardening, with an appreciation for flowering plants, their uniqueness, style and beauty. Recently, I have purchased three (3) Primrose
#4 flowering plants. They are small in these early stages of
their lives. They are currently in small pots 4 inches wide, in 4 inches of soil. I water them regularly, as they receive
moderate sunlight in our front living room window.

For future care-I would like to eventually re-pot them so
as to have them as 3 separate hanging baskets when Springtime emerges. I am open to helpful hints.


Negative otter47 On Mar 27, 2010, otter47 from Livermore, CA wrote:

Unfortunately, the snails and slugs adore this plant and unless I hover over it and use lots of snail bait, it disappears. I have had more success growing it in hanging baskets, out of their reach. However, I much prefer the obconica primroses for their wider range of colors and foliage and flowers that are not nearly so esteemed by the gastropods.

Positive ladyannne On May 3, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

The sweetest of secret garden plants, very reliable, delicate and easy to grow.

Neutral Baa On Aug 29, 2002, Baa wrote:

An evergreen perennial from China.

Has hairy, pale green, ovate leaves with wavy margins. Bears hairy spikes of white, pale lavender to pinkish red flowers which may either be single or double.

Flowers December - March

This Primula isn't frost hardy at all and is often grown as an annual. It needs a cool, shaded, frost free greenhouse or be grown as a houseplant. Loves well drained, peaty, fertile soil in a spot which is lightly shaded most of the day.


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

Merced, California
San Jose, California
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
San Antonio, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
Kalama, Washington

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