Primrose care

Double primrose flower

Double primrose flower

PRIMROSE- A big splash for a few bucks

English Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

Common primrose (Primula vulgaris) also referred to as English primrose belongs to a large family of Primula. It is sold in mass-market grocery and big-box stores for a few dollars. These charming winter/spring blooming plants come in a rainbow of colors and are hard to resist. Because they are realitively inexpensive, I usually buy several plants and combine them in a basket for a big colorful splash. Primrose are considered a grow and throw plant. Once it’s done blooming it is usually thrown out.

The rosette shaped plant with wrinkled leaves, produces a cluster of brightly colored flowers with yellow eyes in the center. Some colors such as dark yellow, orange also have a delicate sweet fragrance.

Care indoors

Keep the plant in bright, indirect sun. Direct sun can scorch the leaves causing dried browned spots.

This blooming houseplant will last longer in cooler temperatures (60F).  The soil should be well-drained and evenly moist (not wet) during bloom.  Avoid overwatering, do not let the plant sit in water, it can cause root rot resulting in yellowing wilted leaves.  Conversely, do not let the plant dry out or the flowers and plant will wilt.

For longer bloom time, remove spent flowers.

Plant tip

When selecting a Primrose plan look for blooms that are just beginning to open and avoid yellow bottom leaves.

Outdoor care

Common primrose is an herbaceous perennial that is hardy in zone 5-8. If you managed to save your houseplant until spring, plant it outdoors in part shade and slightly moist soil. With a little luck, it should bloom the following spring . Common primrose  are great in woodland gardens and low growing borders along shaded beds.


Divide crowded rosettes every 2-3 years in late spring or after bloom.  Start new plants from seed in spring and fall.


Leaf spot disease and yellowing leaves

spider mites-check for webbing on leaves