Growing Primrose Flowers Indoors

Botanical Name: Primula species and hybrids

Out of the hundreds of species of primrose flowers, there are just a few that are available from florists mid-winter through spring and grown as house plants.

English primrose (P. polyantha), shown here, produces a mound of bright, fragrant blooms in pink, purple, yellow, red, orange, white, and bicolors, and often have yellow centers, called eyes. Its colorful flowers grow above a rosette of mid-green oblong leaves.

Fairy primrose (P. malacoides) has star-shaped flowers on tall stems.

Another tall variety is German primrose -- also called poison primrose, its leaves can cause skin irritation -- (P. obconica) with fragrant blooms in shades of white, lilac, red, and pink -- each with a green eye.

Chinese primrose (P. sinensis) is a small plant with ruffled blooms in shades of pink and lilac.

primrose flowers

If your plant came from a florist shop with a plastic or foil wrap around it, take it off. Blocking the drainage holes in the pot may cause the roots to rot.

Want to cover a plain nursery pot? Slip it into a cachepot (a decorative container without drainage holes). I put pebbles in the bottom to keep the pot above the drainage water.

Primrose typically blooms for several weeks and is often tossed out after flowering because it is difficult to regrow. However, P. polyantha can be planted in a shaded spot outside in the garden for more seasons of blooms.

The biggest challenges of keeping this indoor beauty happy are its moisture and light requirements. Dry soil or direct sun will make primrose flowers wilt. Find a cool place for your plant. A bright sun porch is ideal.

primrose flowers, primrose plant, english primrose

Pinch off spent blooms to extend blooming time.

Brown leaf tips could be caused by dry air or a buildup of soluble salts in the soil. You can easily flush salts by slowly pouring room-temperature water over the soil. Wait till water drains out the drainage holes, then repeat a couple more times.

Scorched leaves (dry, brown spots) are caused by harsh sunlight. Keep your primrose plant in bright, indirect light indoors. If you set your plant outdoors in the spring, keep it in full shade.

Watch for spider mites. Dry indoor air in the winter months encourages these pests to invade house plants, another reason to keep the humidity up. You'll first notice faint webbing on the undersides of leaves. If your plant is badly infested, get rid of it. These harmful pests will quickly move on to your other indoor plants.

Primrose Flower Care Tips

primrose, primrose flowers, flowering house plants Origin: England, Germany and China

Height: 8-12 inches (20-30 cm)

Light: Bright light. No direct sun.

Water: Keep soil evenly moist. This plant wilts quickly when the soil is dry. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil, which can lead to root rot. Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering.

Humidity: Needs moist air. Set pot on a humidity tray to raise the humidity around it. Don't mist because primroses have hairy leaves that trap water, which leads to fungus.

Temperature: Cool to average temperatures 50-65°F/10-18°C

Soil: Peat moss-based potting mix

Fertilizer: Do not fertilize when in bloom.

Propagation: Sow seeds in late fall for winter blooms.

Green Thumb Tip

Make your flowers last longer by keeping the plant in a cool location.

Blooms will stay fresh longer if kept at a maximum of 65°F/16°C.

Buying Tip

Choose plants with buds that have just begun to open. You'll enjoy several weeks of beautiful blooms.

primrose flowers

Many primrose varieties are available to choose from. Four species are especially easy to grow indoors: P. polyantha, P. obconica, P. malacoides and P. sinensis.

Display Ideas

Set several plants together in a basket. Somehow, their bright contrasting colors tend to complement each other in a group.

Or, display them with other winter-blooming plants, such as kaffir lily, fragrant jasmine or cyclamen.

Fetch a Pail

Primroses need frequent watering to make them happy. Keep an indoor watering can nearby so that your plant won't go thirsty.

Pretty and practical, functional and'll find the ideal watering vessel here to suit you and your house plants.