Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Primula, Primrose
Primula kisoana

Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula (PRIM-yew-luh) (Info)
Species: kisoana (kee-so-AY-nuh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Alpines and Rock Gardens

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)
USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
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

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By chris_h
Thumbnail #1 of Primula kisoana by chris_h

By growin
Thumbnail #2 of Primula kisoana by growin

By Shadyfolks
Thumbnail #3 of Primula kisoana by Shadyfolks

By Malus2006
Thumbnail #4 of Primula kisoana by Malus2006

By arsenic
Thumbnail #5 of Primula kisoana by arsenic

By Tammy
Thumbnail #6 of Primula kisoana by Tammy

By mgarr
Thumbnail #7 of Primula kisoana by mgarr

There are a total of 10 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive chris_h On May 8, 2009, chris_h from Waukegan, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have found primula kisoana easy to grow in my garden. I have had it for many years. It has spread to form a good size patch in medium shade but it is not aggressive. Some years a few bare spots may appear but they always seem to fill back in in the following year. My soil tends to clay but I have supplemented it over the years with peat moss and maple leaves. In addition to the pretty flowers, the foliage is very appealing and it has furry pink and green stems that are very attractive. It does seem to appreciate even moisture but tolerates a dry spell now and then. I have tried it in drier areas of my garden but it did not flourish there.

Positive Malus2006 On May 27, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

This is the only primrose species to have survived more than two years for me - in fact, about 5 years for me. I think it grows in drier conditions that some people above think - more of average soils but maybe in average soil it is smaller. I got it from a plant sale by the local garden club - previous I had it in more sunny location and drier location but competitions from other plants were intense so I had the three to four plants (tiny) moved to the new home - only one had come up so far. Blooms in May. At least now I know it's name!

Neutral bluespiral On Jan 24, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

The following notes on germinating P. kisoana are quoted and paraphrased heavily from the 2nd edition of Norman C. Deno's book, Seed Germination Theory and Practice. He found that this species germinated in only two procedures:

1) It germinated at 70*F in the dark with GA-3 (gibberellic acid) using fresh seed (germination was 70% successful in the second week), OR

2) at 70*F in the light with dry-stored seed.
Germination was highest with seed previously stored in dry-storage for 2 years at 70*F and then germinated at 70*F in the light with 80% successful germination in the 1st through 3rd weeks. However, when he tried to germinate seeds identically to the foregoing except for dry-storage being 6 months, instead of 2 years, germination was lowest.

[ If you obtained your seed through trade or a commercial source and don't know how or for how long the seed was previously stored, then give them 1 - 6 weeks at 70*F in light during which best germination should occur. If nothing happens, then cycle the seed through 40*F for 3 months, then 70*F in the light again for 3 months, back to 40*F for 3 months, then 70*F for 3 months.

I just received seed of this plant this month and am tempted to wintersow it immediately, but Dr. Deno's patterns of germination apparently begin in warm temperatures, so I will use his baggy method (see Haberlea rhodopensis in PlantFiles) adapted per the foregoing. If you have enough seed, I think it would be worthwhile to try the wintersowing method just to see what happens.]

Dr. Deno also wrote "Unraveling the Secrets of Primula Kisoana" in the Bulletin of the American Rock Garden Society, 50, 211, 1992.

He notes that the Cortusoides group, to which P. kisoana belongs, " well suited to conditions in eastern U.S. and should be grown more as they are beautiful floriferous plants." So, if you live in the eastern US and have a shady, moist spot, I hope you'll try this plant, because Dr. Deno also notes that Primula kisoana "is reported to be EXTINCT in the wild."

Positive Tammy On Jan 15, 2005, Tammy from Barto, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I 've been successful with this verry pretty primrose for several years here in NE Pa. I've got in near my spring-fed pond - cool & moist soil. It spreads by slowly by stolons.

Positive Todd_Boland On Dec 5, 2004, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is another Cortusoides group primula that might be grown for its foliage alone. The large, lime-green, felt-like leaves look like some species of Geranium. From the rosette of leaves arise a 4-8" stem topped by a cluster of up to 6, relatively large rose-pink flowers. A good woodlander as long as the soil stays reasonaly moist. It is native to damp, shaded sub-alpine to alpine sites in Japan.


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

Juneau, Alaska
Waukegan, Illinois
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Lake Grove, New York
Chesterland, Ohio
Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Sherwood, Oregon
Barto, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Kalama, Washington
Puyallup, Washington

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