Perennial Overview: Primrose


Discover how to grow Primrose with instructions on starting seed, transplanting, site selection, care and maintenance, water and fertilization requirements, and  pests and diseases.

Primrose Stats at a Glance

Botanical Name: Primula denticulata

Height: 8-18”

Soil Conditions:  Well-drained, fertile soil

Sun: Full sun/partial shade

Soil pH Conditions: 5.5-7.0

Planting Instructions

Can I Start Primrose from Seed?

Primrose can be propagated through seed and division.

Division. Primrose can be divided in spring after flowering or in early fall.

Seed. To start indoors, fill individual peat pots with a fertile commercial soil starter and moisten.  Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil. Press them lightly into the soil to ensure contact with growing medium. Place in a room with a constant temperature of 70-75°F.  Cover with clear plastic wrap to maintain the soil moisture and temperature.  Keep the soil moist.  When seedlings appear, remove the plastic wrap and move to a sunny location.


Time to Germination: 15-30 days
Light/Darkness Requirements:
Optimal Temp. for Germination: 65-70°F



When Do I Plant Primrose?

Sow seeds in late summer to early winter for spring blooming.  Sow seeds in late winter or early spring for fall flowering.

Soil Temperature: 68°F


Where Do I Plant Primrose?

Primrose plants perform best in loamy, well-drained soil high in organic matter but will grow in nearly any good garden soil that is well-drained. Incorporating several inches of organic matter into the soil when preparing the bed will improve growth and development. Primrose prefers light shade but can be planted in areas of full sun as long as the moisture level is consistent.


Soil Type: Well-drained
Sun Exposure: Full sun/partial shade
Soil pH: 5.5-7.0


How Far Apart Do I Plant Primrose?

Space plants 18-24” apart.

Primrose Plant Care and Maintenance

Once established, most perennials require very little routine care and maintenance.

How Often Should I Water Primrose?

For many perennials, average rainfall is sufficient to keep the plants healthy.  Supplementation may be necessary in droughty conditions.

The key to watering Primrose is to maintain a consistent moisture level.  This is especially important during flower and fruit development. The soil should be moist to a depth of 6”.  Allowing the soil to dry out between watering will result in a shallow root system.

Water the soil around the plant. Overhead watering will encourage disease.  Drip irrigation is best.

Mulch around the plant will help to lock in moisture.


Should I Fertilize Primrose?

Most perennials do not require a specific fertilization regiment.  Fertilizing decisions should be based on a soil test.  If a soil test cannot be obtained and you feel that your perennial bed would benefit from fertilization, keep it light.  Work in a small amount of a low nitrogen fertilizer, such as 5-10-5 around the plants in the early spring.

Fertilize the soil around the plant at least 6” from the plant base. Irrigate into the soil.


Primrose Diseases

The most common diseases associated with this plant include aster yellows, bacterial leaf spot, botrytis blight, fasciation, leaf spot, root and crown rot, rusts, and viruses.

Primrose Pests

The most common pests associated with this plant include aphids, foliage feeding caterpillars, leafminers, mealybugs, slugs, spider mites, thrips, weevils, and whiteflies.

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