Finding plants that will provide bright color in deep shade and cool temperatures isn’t easy, but the primrose fills the bill nicely. The flower’s intense jewel tones, in shades of yellow, purple, orange, red, white and pink, work nicely with spring-blooming bulbs such as crocus and daffodils. Also known as primula, primrose is a low-growing plant with bright-green, wrinkled leaves. Primrose can be planted in borders, mass plantings or in patio containers. A perennial plant, primrose is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 3 to Zone 8.
Plant primroses in well-drained soil and partial or full shade. The cooler your climate, the more sunlight primroses can tolerate.
Water primrose plants regularly, and keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Never allow the soil to become completely dry.
Spread 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around the primrose plants in early spring. A mulch such as dry, chopped leaves or shredded bark will keep the roots of the primrose plant cool and moist. Spread a fresh layer of mulch around the plants in late autumn to protect the roots during the winter.
Divide primrose plants in early spring if the plants become too large or if the center of the plant begins to die down. Use a spade or garden fork to dig the entire clump. Separate the clump into smaller sections, each with a healthy root system. Replant the sections immediately.
Check your primrose regularly for slug damage. Handpicking during the evening is an effective way to control slugs. Traps made from beer in a jar lid are effective for a small area, and must be replaced every few days. Use chemical slug bait with care, especially around children or animals. Use the product according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.