On this page you’ll find all of the Primroses we grow gathered together and then sorted by section botanically. Along with the text which Dawn has added we hope you can find the Primula to best suit your conditions and your taste.
The genus Primula covers over 400 species which inhabit many continents, but almost all come from areas of cool summers with adequate moisture and humidity when in active growth. Although many come from high altitude areas in the Himalayas they will readily thrive in Britain given humus rich soils and shade from the heat of the sun.
This section contains our native species and the Polyanthus derived from them
- Primula vulgaris (Primrose) Whether grown at the front of a formal border or naturalised amongst grass and wild flowers, the cheerful native primrose is always sure to bring a ray of sunshine to the new year garden. We grow Primroses from seed collected from wild primroses growing in the banks of our Dorset nursery. As such you can be assured of getting the true colour, including the occasional flesh pink, rather than the colour sometimes coming from commercial seed. Happiest in a sunny bank. Ideal as a food source for the early bumblebees.
- Primula vulgaris subsp. sibthorpii. (Primula acaulis subsp. rubra) These Primroses look for all the world like our native Primrose which the fairies have painted pink. Their habit and flower shape are just the same but this subspecies hails from the eastern mediterranean and grows in similar shadier and cooler conditions that we associate with our own wild primrose. The flowers are usually purplish pink or rosy red and can flower from february to april.
- Primula vulgaris ‘Dunbeg’ (Kennedy Irish Series). A lovely peachy coloured Primrose with a good golden eye and a paler slightly fuffled edge. It contrasts beautifully with the magnificent deep purple shiny leaves. Very hardy and floriferous. February to May
- Primula vulgaris ‘Avondale’ (Kennedy Irish Series). A new Primrose with old-fashioned Irish roots. Beautifully shaped Primroses in a multiheaded bloom of rich mauvey-pink. The natural notch in each petal is highligthed by a white flash which dips into the central golden eye, itself enhanced by a strong rose-pink ring. Very floriferous and very hardy. Green foliage. February to May
- Primula vulgaris ‘Carrigdale’. A multiheaded primrose with crinkle-edged petals. It is a most subtle shade of blush pink over a creamy white ground, becoming suffused with varying strengths of pink flecks as the blooms mature. Each has a soft green and gold eye. The 12-15 blooms are supported by strong pinkish stems carrying the flowers about 12cm above the nice crinkled green leaves. All the flowers look to be female (pin-eyed) and don’t seem to set seeds, giving it a very long flowering season.
- Primula veris. Our native Cowslip hardy needs an introduction but sadly its native homes are becoming less common. Charming native primula with lopsided clusters of bright cheery yellow flowers on short stems. Excellent for naturalising in banks or meadows ideally in sunny situations on well drained alkaline soils. In wetter, heavier or shadier spots Primula vulgaris our native primrose is more likely to suceed. If you have ideal conditions and space you may well get enough flowers to make cowslip wine but better still to stick to chardonnay and leave the blossoms for the bumble bees who often pierce the backs of the calyx to sip the nectar.
- Primula veris ‘Katy McSparron’. A ‘hose-in-hose’ cowslip with very double golden yellow flowers like perfectly iced rosettes. The petals are exerted from the green calyx and look up and out well for maximum effect. Very pretty and unusual but without the pollen or nectar source for bees it is best appreciated in isolation. For naturalising, stick to the real thing.
- Primula veris ‘Sunset Shades’. Cowslips with party dresses. It is likely that these cowslips share some of their genes with red flowered polyanthus and although still typically cowslip shaped, they are larger flowered, more flambouyant plants with flowers in shades of red and orange. They make super garden plants enjoying the same conditions as P.veris: they need to see the sun but without drying out in summer and flower in April to June.
- Primula elatior (Oxlip). The wild form of our native Oxlip. From early spring a rosette of apple green foliage emerges which in april or may sends up stems from 10 to 30cm which are topped with a one sided umbel of short stalked primrose flowers. It was once prolific in eastern England from London to Cambridge and into Norfolk, where it was synonymous with acient woodland coppices and grew in large numbers, replacing the common primrose. It is easily grown in heavy rich soils, particularly over chalk, in shade or partial shade which do not dry out in summer.
- Primula ‘Elizabeth Killelay’. The flowers of this beautiful primula are mahogany red, double with each petal edged in creamy-white and coming from a yellow centre . The flowers are tightly clustered and held well above the foliage. 30cm, May-June. A polyanthus type being in its essence a double form of the ‘Gold Lace’ types.
- Primula ‘Dawn Ansell’. A lovely old-fashioned ‘Jack-in-the-green’ Primrose with beautiful white, very double flowers neatly surrounded by a ruff like collar of miniature primrose leaves. They are so beautifully formed as to resemble rose buds with just a hint of a chartreuse-green eye in the very centre. Being double and therefore disinclined to set any seed this lovely Primrose can flower over a long season. They make lovely edgers in the Spring border where they are happy in the moist edge to a path, especially if shaded later by larger growing plants or shrubs in leaf.
- Primula ‘Francisca’. A most unusual, Polyanthus style, Old Fashioned Primrose with unique green flowers, each petal with a ruffley edge which is pale; almost as if it was rimmed with frost. Chartreuse green with a green eye. A Charming curiosity for fellow lovers of green flowers.
Primula x pubescens (Primula auricula)
- Primula x pubescens (Primula auricula). These are the garden auriculas, a rich colour mixture of hardy large flowered hybrids. April-June 20cm. Garden selections with tolerance to Winter wet and cold. Multi-headed blooms of circular fuffle-edged flowers each with a strong yellow disc in the centre. A wonderful wide variety of rich colours and graduated bicolours, all sweetly scented.
- Primula auricula ‘Late Romantic’ is a subtle little beauty. The double flowers are like minature roses coloured in flesh pink, shaded deep apricot in the centre. This is one of a range of auriculas bred to be really garden worthy with strong stems that will hold the flowers up well above the foliage without bowing over. Easy and suitable for the ground of tubs and containers.
- Primula Belarina Cream. A new range of primula hybrids that combine a compact growth habit with excellent sized double flowers produced from February right on through to Summer. The belarina series has been bred for their ability to go on and on flowering. 12x20cm. 12x20cm. This form is a delicate shade of cream shaded lemon at centre with the most delightful complex scent.
- Primula Belarina Butter Yellow. A new range of primula hybrids that combine a compact growth habit with excellent sized double flowers produced from February right on through to Summer. The belarina series has been bred for their ability to go on and on flowering. 12x20cm. Butter Yellow has, most surprisingly, Buttery-yellow flowers with a collar of leafy bracts.