Who can resist a Primrose garden? They come in a wide variety of colors and heights making it easy to choose the perfect species, which happens to be between 400-500 of them, for your garden. Whether you are an avid gardener or starting your first one, primroses are a great flower to add to your mix. The name primrose derives from the Latin word, primus, meaning “early” or “first”. This is because these are typically the very first flowers you’ll see bloom in the spring. There are some species that are very common in England, which you may have even heard of the English Primrose. It blooms freely all throughout Great Britain and is a favorite of many royals. When it comes to choosing the best species for your garden, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration before purchasing and planting just any primrose flower. Your soil type may play a role in the types that’ll grow best in your garden, the amount of light, space it has to grow, and how much maintenance and watering it will require. Some species are also better for attracting butterflies and even deer and other animals, so if you have a preference with what the flowers may attract to your garden, or not attract, you’ll want to read-up on the different types first. To help you get started we put together a list of the ten best types of primrose flowers for your garden to give some ideas of which primroses might be the best ones for you and your flower garden.
1. Common Cowslip (Primula veris)
If your garden happens to draw a lot of a shade, you might want to consider the Common Cowslip primrose. These flowers are great for flowerbed gardens, cottage gardens, and you can even get these hearty flowers to grow in a container, which makes them great for front and back porches. The Common Cowslip boasts a vibrant yellow petal and crisp, green leaves. They’re bright and sunny and will add cheer to any type of garden you plant them in. For those who live where deer and rabbits are known to tromp through the garden and nibble at your flowers, this is one you wont’ have to worry about. Both animals ignore the Common Cowslip, which means you won’t have to worry about it disappearing due to animal destruction.
2. Common primrose – Primula vulgaris
The Common primrose – Primula Vulgaris is a flower that is often seen growing in the wild, covering banks and in fields. Despite their native wildflower-like life, this species is also often seen planted in hedgerows and in many types of gardens. They grow so freely because they aren’t finicky about the type of soil they grow in. You can plant this species in a variety of soil types, from chalk to loam, as well as clay and sand. The Common primrose does prefer more shaded areas, so if you love the idea of enhancing your big oak with some flowers, or beautifying some hedges or a wall, this is the flower that is up to the challenge. The Common primrose has a planting season of late fall and they prefer soil that stays well-drained, so no matter what you plant them in, clay, chalk or sand, make sure it drains well.
If vibrant colors are a favorite aspect of a flower garden, the Polyanthus might be the primrose for you. This species is a hybrid flower, the combination of the primroses and the cowslips, and they’re most often found in gardens, as opposed to some of the other species that can be found mixed in with the hedges or lining a walk or wall. These were specifically designed to beautify gardens with their magnificent colors of bright blues, vibrant yellows and reds, and rich pinks. If you think the Polyanthus would make a great addition to your garden, you’ll want to first be sure the soil in your garden drains well before you start planting. Once they mature, you’ll want to maintain the flowers by plucking the dead or yellow leaves from the stems as they appear to keep them happy and healthy.
4. Candleabra (Primula pulverulenta)
When you think of a candleabra, you probably think of elegance, which is exactly what this flower offers your garden. This species grows up to 3 feet tall and can grow to 2 feet across. Unlike many species, the Candleabra does not have leaves on the stems, which only adds to the flowers’ elegant look. The leafless stems are strong and sturdy, while the bell-shaped flowers grow into rich crimson buds that are delicately lined with a silver-like powder. Many primrose lovers will tell you that these are one of the easiest species to grow, and for butterfly lovers, this is one you’ll surely want to add to your butterfly garden. Butterflies love the Candleabra while deer and bunnies do not, so no need to worry about unwanted guests eating up these beautiful flowers.
5. Candleabra (Primula x bulleesiana)
Another hybrid flower is the Candleabra Primula x bulleesiana. This species is a bit different in its petal shape and color. While the previous primrose grew into a deep crimson color, this species has several color choices. You can choose from terra cotta, rose, cream, purple, red, salmon, and lavender hues. This is also a deer-resistant flower which makes it a great addition to those cottage gardens and borders around your yard where deer often enter. The primula x bulleesiana grows to a height of about 2 feet tall and has a spread width of about 18 inches. Unlike other species who prefer well-drained soil, this species holds up well in wetter soil conditions.
6. Evening Primrose
The Evening primrose is a species many are familiar with. Its beautiful pink-colored petals are delicate to look at, almost taking on a look of silk, and they are also a big attraction to birds, however, deer do not find these flowers attractive at all, so you can rest easy about deer destruction. These flowers are easy to maintain. If you don’t like the fuss of worrying with the many different insect and disease problems that often affect other types of flowers, you’ll the fact that this species of flower seems to be free of diseases and insects that often plague other species of plants and flowers.
7. Francesca (Primula vulgaris)
The Francesca has a different look to it. While many other primrose species have gentle forming petals, the Francesca develops a more frayed look to its petals’ edges, giving it a unique look. The color of the petals grow to be a stunning lime-green with a vibrant, sunny yellow center. This species of primrose also puts off a beautiful fragrance that will leave you wanting to take in more. If you are a beginner gardener, you will really want to check this species out because it is one that is hearty and easy to maintain. One thing to mindful of is the soil. Francesca’s prefer moist soil that will not dry easily.
8. Japanese Primrose (Primula japonica)
If you’re looking for a flower to really spruce up your garden with striking colors, the Japanese primrose can certainly make your garden pop with your choice of purple, white, red, and light and dark pink hues. For an even richer look, it’s suggested to plant a lot of this species together in groups to really create a “wow” factor. Not only are these vibrant flowers, but they’re extremely fragrant, which only increases their attractiveness, not only for the gardener, but butterflies too. One thing that makes this a great flower for many gardens is that they do well in moist soil, meaning you won’t have to worry about them getting too much moisture if you live in a wetter climate.
9. Juliana (Primula x juliana)
The Juliana Primula x Juliana is a hybrid primrose and likes to stay close to the ground, only growing to about 2 inches tall. If you have a border you want to enhance or need some flowers along your hedges, this is a great species to choose. The colors vary but always have a bright yellow center. These are sturdy little flowers, perfect for beginners, and those who love to have a bright, blooming spring garden.
10. Paragon (Primula vulgaris)
The Paragon is quite elegant. The petals are soft, light pink or lavender, and some with a mixture, while the centers are yellow in color. These beautiful flowers will lighten and brighten any garden. While these flowers attract the beautiful butterflies, they won’t attract deer, so you know you won’t have to worry about your flowers being destroyed by unwanted wildlife. This is an easy-to-grow, and easy-to-maintain flower; a perfect beginners species if you want to try your hand at growing primroses