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Primula Polyanthus group

Polyanthus Primrose, English primrose
Annuals, Perennials


Most primroses are native to the Himalayas and cool regions of southeast Asia and Europe. The plants form a foliage rosette; at bloom time, typically circular, sometimes fragrant flowers with five petals rise above the leaves. The petals usually overlap and are often indented at the apex, sometimes so deeply that each flower appears to have ten parts. Blossoms may be borne on individual stems, in clusters at stem ends, or in tiered, candelabra-like clusters along the stem.

Most primroses are spring blooming, but some start flowering in mid- to late winter in mild climates, and a few bloom in early summer. Some go dormant in late fall or winter; mark their location before they disappear.

Nearly all are good plants for the woodland garden.

Primula polyanthus
Primula polyanthus

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Primula Polyanthus group

Grows to 8–12 in. high and 9 in. wide, with fresh green, tongue-shaped leaves that resemble romaine lettuce leaves. Evergreen in milder climates; grown as annuals in hot-summer areas. The most weather-resistant primroses. Bears large, full clusters of 1–2-in.-wide blossoms (miniature types are smaller) in winter to early or midspring. Available in almost any color; many very brilliant. Choose from the many large-flowered strains, like Crescendo and Pacific Giant, or look for novelties such as the Gold Lace group, with gold-edged, yellow-centered, deep mahogany petals; ‘Penumbra’, similar, with silver-edged petals; and ‘Guinevere’, with bronzy foliage and soft pink, yellow-eyed blooms. All are excellent for massing, with bulbs, or in containers. 

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