Common primroses (Primula vulgaris)… also called English primroses… are very easy to grow. They like partial shade and moist, fertile soil with lots of organic material mixed in. They must be planted where there is good drainage, because if the soil stays too moist during the winter, the plant will almost certainly die from crown or root rot.
Over the last few years I have also added other different color variations by sowing my own collected seeds. Sometimes I open the dried seed pods and scatter seeds on top of the soil around my existing primrose plants, but primroses will also seed themselves. The seeds need light to germinate, so I don’t cover them with soil. I have found that the best results come from seeds that are sown as soon as the seed pods have ripened. If the seeds are stored, the germination rate will go way down.
If growing conditions are favorable, primroses will quickly spread to become huge mounds of foliage that are absolutely covered with blooms. Primroses like cooler temperatures and will not do well in direct summer sun. They flower here in early spring and again in mid to late fall.
My primroses are growing under the outside edges of several snowball bushes, and they are flourishing in these somewhat sheltered locations.
I have found yellow primroses to be the easiest to grow, but some primroses are not winter hardy here, and the more vivid colors can be a bit temperamental in our zone 4 growing conditions.
I have had very good results starting primroses from seed… and most of my different primrose color combinations originally began with one small packet of ten purchased “mixed” seeds.
I love my primroses! They’re still producing flowers at the time of the first snow… and the flowers are still there (albeit a little winter weary) when the snow melts again in the spring.
This happens every year, and I’m always amazed that these tough little plants can continue to show blooms all winter… even under snow and in below zero temperatures.