Primula vulgaris is the familiar native European primrose, it is a plant of cool, shaded locations and is found not only in woodlands, with which it is normally associated, but also hedgerows, north facing banks and mountain and coastal cliffs. It prefers dampish sites, often on heavy clay soils.
The pale yellow, single primrose is one of the early signs of spring, coinciding with the first early daffodils. The two associate well together in damp grass or light woodland. Our native primroses are cultivated in cottage gardens and spring borders and are wonderful under planting ferns and other woodland plants.
Native to western and southern Europe, in more populated areas Primula vulgaris has sometimes suffered from over-collection and theft so that few natural displays of primroses in abundance can now be found.
To prevent excessive damage to the species, picking of primroses or the removal of primrose plants from the wild is illegal in many countries.
The UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Section 13, part 1b.
The RHS has awarded it the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Sowing: Sow seeds in late spring/early summer or late summer/autumn.
Primula seeds need a period of cold and damp to enable them to germinate. They can also be sown during warmer times of the year, but it would be necessary to artificially simulate the fluctuating temperatures of winter using stratification as below.
Sow from June onwards on a surface of seed compost, cover with grit and keep in a shaded cold-frame or cool glasshouse. Sow seed 2.5cm (1in) apart in trays or cells containing good quality seed compost. Sow the seeds on the surface of the compost, but do not cover the seeds as they need light to germinate. Place the container in a light position at a regular temperature of around 16°C (60°F) Germination should take place between 21 and 40 days.
If you are planting during warm periods of the year, and wish to sow your seeds into pots (it not directly outdoors), you may wish to use stratification to enable to seeds to germinate quicker. This method simply artificially simulates the fluctuating temperatures of winter.
Place the seeds between two pieces of damp filter paper or folded kitchen roll then put into a polythene bag and place this into the fridge at 4°C (39°F) which is the temperature that most fridges are set at. Inspect the seeds after two weeks and remove as the seedlings appear, returning the ungerminated seeds to the fridge.
When seedlings have their first pair of true leaves and are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots containing peaty compost. Grow on then gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out. Plant them in a humus-rich, moisture retentive soil and in partial shade.
Germination can be erratic, although most should germinate in four to five weeks, it is not unknown for seeds still to be germinating up to two years after sowing. Remove the seedlings, transplanting them to individual pots. Place the original container in a shaded corner of the garden….just in case!
The important factor is that the roots should not dry out, so incorporate plenty of organic matter when you plant, mulch well in autumn and spring and water regularly if they are in the open.
Once established, they benefit from being lifted and divided every two years in early spring.
Bedding schemes. Indoor plants, Pots and containers
Primula vulgaris is a species of Primula native to western and southern Europe - from the Faroe Islands and Norway south to Portugal, and east to Germany, Ukraine, the Crimea, and the Balkans), northwest Africa (Algeria), and southwest Asia (Turkey east to Iran).
Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden planting, often derived from subsp. sibthorpii or hybrids between the subspecies; these and other garden hybrids are available in a wide range of colours and with an extended flowering season.
Pink and red flowered primroses growing in natural conditions in western Europe are usually naturalised from garden escapes, though a pink-flowered form is reported locally as a wild plant in Wales.
Primroses and Polyanthus are a diverse group of the Primula family.
"Primrose" is ultimately from Old French primerose or medieval Latin prima rosa, meaning “first rose".
It flowers in early spring, one of the earliest spring flowers in much of Europe.
The common name is Primrose or occasionally Common primrose or English primrose to distinguish it from other Primula species that also called primroses.
An old tradition in England is that a six petalled flower is lucky for marriage and love, while in Germany 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!
- Additional Information
Family Primulaceae Genus Primula Species vulgaris Cultivar Wildflower of Britain and Ireland Synonym Syn: Primula acaulis Common Name Common primrose, English primrose
Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
Other Language Names IR. Sabhaircín Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Pale Lemon-yellow scented flowers Natural Flower Time February to May Foliage Mid green, Broad lance shaped leaves. Height 20cm (8in) Spread 35cm (14in) Position Light Shade Soil Moist, fertile, humus rich soil Time to Sow Sow seeds in late spring/early summer or late summer/autumn. Germination Germination can be erratic, although most should germinate in four to five weeks,