Cowslip Primrose, Cowslip, St. Peter's Keys, Palsywort, Tisty-Tosty, Cowflops, Culver Keys

Primula veris

Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula (PRIM-yew-luh) (Info)
Species: veris (VER-iss) (Info)
Additional cultivar information:(red-flowered)



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:




Bloom Characteristics:

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

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 8, 2013, wakingdream from Allentown, PA wrote:

I received a clump of this Cowslip Primrose from a gardening friend who lives 90 minutes away. She grows her patch in Lancaster County, PA. I think of her fondly each time I see it.

The brilliant red-orange color is dramatic in spring. The foliage is bright green and crinkly, rather dense, under 8" tall. Height is similar to my patch of Primula japonica, 12 - 15" when in bloom.

I divided the P.veris patch immediately after blooming and it pouted awhile in its natural summer dormancy but regained strength. None died. Now I have two robust patches, each one located in half sun. The clue for ID is the very long and dominant calyx, the tube holding the blossom.


On Nov 2, 2004, Baa wrote:

Garden origin.

Has deep green, wrinkled leaves with toothed or scalloped edges and a pale mid rib. Bears slightly pendant, brick red to orange flowers slightly larger than the normal P. veris.

Can be found flowering in spring to early summer.

Likes a well drained, moist, fertile soil in full sun or light shade. Will self sow where happy but will also cross with practically every other Primula species in the vicinity so collected seed may not always come true, but you might just have some interesting seedlings pop up.

These are believed to be garden hybrids of P. veris with Polyanthus and/or Primrose types of Primula as they aren't found in the wild.