Scientific: Primula vulgaris (syn. P. acaulis)
Common: common primrose, English primrose
Origin: Far west Asia and south Europe
Pronounciation: Pri-MUL-a vul-GAR-is
Sunset All (seasonally)
USDA All (seasonally)
Landscape Use: Landscape annual for the winter season in Phoenix, bedding or edging plant, mesic landscapes, colorful accent.
Form & Character: Low and rosetting, formal, diminuative, colorful, cheerful, a veritable British cottage plant, cute.
Growth Habit: Evergreen herbaceous perennial (annual in Phoenix due to heat), basally clumping less that 6 inches except when in flower.
Foliage/Texture: Basally rossetting, indivdual leaves are 2 to 5 inches in length and 1 to 2 inches wide. Leaf margins are coarsely serrated (crenate to dentate), leaf veins are prominent, occassionally pubescent; medium coarse texture.
Flowers & Fruits: The flowers are 1 to 2 inches in diameter, borne singly on a slender elongated stem. The flowers are hermaphrodite. Flower colors are vary from white, pale yellow, red, or purple. Fruits are a capsule which open by valves to release the small black seeds.
Seasonal Color: Depending on cultivar and subspecies hybrid, there are many flower colors during winter and early spring.
Temperature: Common primrose grows best if the temperature range is between 35oF and 80oF, intolerant of heat.
Light: Partial shade best
Soil: In Phoenix, common primrose absolutely requires a rich organic amended soil with acidifiying fertilizers provided on a regular basis to keep local soil pH below 7.5.
Watering: Water abundantly to keep soil moist.
Disease and Pests: Crown rot if planted too deep and root rot if soils are poorly drained.
Additional comments: Common primrose has been cultivated horticulturally for a long time. In Europe, there are few native plantings remain because of over harvesting and over collecting of seed. Numerous cultivars exist for garden planting most of which have been selected from the subspecies sibthorpii or hybrids between subspecies. Both flowers and leaves are edible, the flavor ranging between mild lettuce and more bitter salad greens.