The common primula, with attractive yellow flowers is Primula vulgaris. Sometimes called the English primrose this is a variety that comes back year after year and is evergreen in warmer climates.
A sure sign that spring is on its way, this is clump forming plant, masses of buttery yellow flowers held in small rosettes just above the foliage.
Primula vulgaris has been a cottage garden favourite for many years, and regarded as the easiest and least demanding of all of the primulas, it has attractive foliage, a mid green and textured. It spreads slowly to form a dense clump and in spring it blooms, masses of buttery yellow flowers with deeper yellow centres.
It will self seed however it is not regarded as invasive as the seeds seem to drop near the plant.
It will reach around 6 inches (15cm) in height and is naturally clump forming.
How to Grow Primula vulgaris
This is a woodland plant so light shade and moist well drained soil
The amount of sun depends on the climate zone. In cooler zones, grow this one in full sun. In warmer climates it is best in part shade.
A humus rich well drained soil that retains some moisture is best.
In good soil, little extra fertiliser is required although a slow release organic fertiliser once a year will be beneficial
We mulch around the clump heavily each year. This helps maintain moisture as well as encouraging worms, and good microbial activity in the soil.
All primroses do not cope well in areas or positions that have long dry summers
Where to grow Primula vulgaris
This is a versatile plant that is suited to the general garden border, rock gardens or in containers.
Primula vulgaris Details
- Botanical Name – Primula vulgaris
- Common Names – English primrose
- Origins – Europe
- Position – Full sun to part shade
- Soil – humus rich moist.
- Height – To around 15cm (6 inches)
- Spread – Clump forming to over 50cm over time.
- Flowers – Yellow, orange centre with 5 petals.
- Flowering Time – Spring
- Foliage – Mid green, with toothed leaf margins.
- Propagation is from seed or by root division of established clumps.
- Primulas are toxic to dogs and cats, however we have had no problems with them.
- A few sub species with pink to purple flowers are available, and this is the plant that is parent of the many modern Primula acualis hybrids.
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- ‘vulgaris’ simply means the species itself
- ‘acualis’ means ‘hybrid’