Primula - Primulaceae - How to care for, cultivate and make Primula plants bloom



We are talking about a small plant that delights us all year round with its very colorful flowers starting to bloom as soon as the winter colds begin to fade when green grass begins to appear in the meadows.

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: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons


: Asteris











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The kind Primrose belongs to family of Primulaceae and it is certainly one of the best known and most widespread plants.

It includes numerous species evergreen, annual, rustic and otherwise. Most are species to be grown outdoors but many of them are also suitable for growing indoors. They are plants that, depending on the species, produce flowers practically all year round.

The name Primrose derives from Latin primus «First» to indicate the flowering precocity that occurs immediately after the disappearance of the snow when green grass begins to appear in the trees.

Leaves they are radical, arranged in a rosette and covered by a thick down above the lower page, in almost all the species.

The flowers they can be arranged in an umbrella, spike shape and are generally very numerous in all the colors of the rainbow.

To the group of primroses also belongs a group of horticultural hybrids called POLYANTHUS (deriving from cross with the P. vulgaris) suitable for both the garden and the apartment.


There are about 500 species below are the best known:


There Primula veris it is a well known spontaneous species that is found almost everywhere and blooms at the end of winter forming delightful flowers arranged in umbel and bell-shaped, golden-yellow or often white with orange spots, very fragrant.

The slightly toothed leaves covered with a thick down on the lower page are arranged in a rosette.It is an evergreen rhizomatous herbaceous plant and is a protected species.


There Primula acaulis it is the spontaneous species that we find most frequently in the mountain forests of all Europe. It does not exceed 10 cm in height and is characterized by narrow and elongated leaves with wavy margins.

They can be grown safely in the apartment as long as there is fresh throughout the flowering period after which they must be taken outdoors because they would die inside the house. Numerous hybrids of the most varied colors are derived from this species.


There Primula malacoides it comes from China and is a pretty little plant no taller than 20-25 cm. The leaves are petiolate with pale green toothed margins and white veins.

The flowers appear at the top of flower stems up to 40 cm long, gathered in inflorescences of variable color from white to pink.It has a very abundant flowering from January to April and for this reason it is very popular as a houseplant.


There Primula obconica it is native to China and is characterized by oblong-ovate leaves, with wavy margins and covered with a light down that contain substances that can irritate to the touch.

The flowers, gathered in umbrella-like inflorescences, are carried by 20-30cm long stems, characterized by a large calyx and of different colors: white, red, salmon, blue, blue. They bloom from winter and all summer. All the species belonging to the species are very rustic and fast growing. It is widely cultivated in pots.


There Primula sinensis it is also native to China and reaches a height of 25-30 cm.

The leaves are long, covered with dense down and produces numerous variously colored flowers. It blooms from December to March.

There are a great many varieties known as fimbriata characterized by having fringed petals.


There Mealy primrose it is a very widespread spontaneous species especially in the Italian Alps, in the medium-high areas.

It produces small flowers arranged in an umbrella and blooms from May to September.


There Primula elatior it has all the characteristics of the species with basal leaves arranged in a rosette, hairy on the underside.

The flowers are gathered in umbels carried by long, odorless stems.


The hybrids Polyanthus are probably derived from the P. vulgaris.They are basically outdoor plants but also adapt to apartment living.

They produce extraordinary flowers, usually two-colored, carried by 30 cm long stems, gathered in umbrellas. If grown outdoors they become perennials.


Primroses are plants that do not require special care.

As for the cultivation temperatures during the summer they must be kept in a cool place with temperatures around 10-16 ° C while during the winter the temperatures must be around 10-13 ° C and can also tolerate temperatures of 7 ° C but not for too long periods. It is important that the temperature does not exceed 16 ° C especially during the flowering period as higher temperatures can significantly reduce it.

They love the light but never the direct sun.

It is very important that the place where they are grown is well ventilated but paying attention to avoid creating drafts of air, especially cold, which are not welcome.

As the leaves and flowers wither, they must be removed immediately using clean and well disinfected scissors, possibly with flame or alcohol or bleach to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.


In the summer period it is watered regularly so that the soil always remains moist (not soaked). Constant watering is very important, especially when the plant is in bloom.

Pay attention to water stagnations which are not tolerated in any way.

It loves to have a humid environment around it therefore in addition to regularly nebulizing the foliage (taking care not to wet the flowers that could get stained) arrange the vase try a saucer with expanded clay or other inert material you must constantly have a little water which evaporating will create a good ambient humidity. Make sure that the bottom of the pot does not come into contact with water.


The repotting of the Primrose it is carried out every two years, preferably in autumn just before the start of their vegetative activity using a good light soil, rich in organic substance, mixed with a little coarse sand (which favors the drainage of the irrigation water) with a slightly acid reaction. It does not tolerate alkaline soils.

It is important that the soil favors the rapid draining of excess water as the roots do not tolerate being in water-saturated environments.

Use pots that are slightly larger than the previous one up to a maximum of 15-20 cm. If the plant has become too big for this size, then it is advisable to divide it and plant the two plants in two separate vases.

It is not a plant that likes to be disturbed therefore, at the time of repotting, take it with all its bread of earth and place it as it is in the new pot, without disturbing the roots, simply adding the missing earth and gradually resume watering to stimulate the vegetative restart.

Repotting is also an opportunity to eliminate dead or yellowed leaves or stems.

In the years in which it is not repotting, remove the first 1,5 - 2 cm of soil and replace it with fresh soil.


A liquid fertilizer is used, properly diluted in the watering water, every two weeks starting when the first flower buds appear and for the entire duration of flowering. During the other periods, suspend the fertilizations.

The choice of fertilizer is very important therefore do not buy one at random and carefully read the label as they are plants that need fertilizers that have a low nitrogen content and a high phosphorus and potassium content. In addition, provide a fertilizer that also has microelements such as manganese, iron, copper, zinc, molybdenum, boron, all important for the growth of the plant.

A tip: reduce the doses compared to those indicated in the package as if you repot regularly the plant will already have a good good supply of basic nutrients and also generally the indications given in the packages are always exaggerated.


In most species of Primrose flowering ends in late spring even though there are some species such as the obconica which often blooms even in summer.

During flowering it is important that the temperature does not exceed 16 ° C as otherwise the flowering period will be significantly shortened.

As soon as it fades, they must be moved outdoors because in this way the flowering can resume.


We cannot speak of real pruning: the leaves that gradually dry up are simply eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

A tip: always use clean and disinfected tools (flame or bleached with alcohol) to avoid infecting the tissues and preferably use gloves as our hands carry many more parasites than we can imagine.

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Video: How to grow at care primula Obconica flower plant winter care tips.

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