How to Plant Primroses


Dainty primroses add perennial color to the spring garden. Available in nearly every color imaginable, the primrose blooms from early spring until the beginning of summer. Once the temperatures begin to warm up, the blossoms fade, but the primrose continues to provide lush green foliage that is suitable as a background to showier summer flowers. Planting primrose with summer flowers offers another benefit, as primroses prefer shade in summer and these other plants can provide it. Plant primroses from seeds started indoors in later winter, then transplant the young plants to their permanent garden home.

Starting Seeds

Step 1

Fill a seed-starting flat with a fine-textured potting soil to within 2 inches of the rim, then finish filling the flat with peat moss. Water the soil and peat moss until it is moist throughout but not soggy.

Step 2

Sprinkle the small primrose seeds on top of the peat moss, spacing them approximately 1 seed per square inch. Place the flat in a plastic bag and seal the bag closed so it retains the moisture in the soil during the germination process.

Step 3

Place the flat in the refrigerator or in a 40 to 45 degree F location for three to four weeks. Chilling the seeds encourages them to break dormancy and germinate.

Step 4

Remove the flat from the fridge and water the soil if it is beginning to dry. Leave the flat in the plastic bag. Place the flat in a 70 F room to germinate, which usually takes between three and six weeks.

Step 5

Remove the bag once the seedlings begin to appear. Move the flat to a warm, sunny windowsill and water when the soil surface begins to feel dry.

Step 6

Fill 3-inch diameter seedlings pots with a moist potting soil once the primrose seedlings are 2 inches tall and have begun growing in their second set of leaves. Lift the seedlings from the flat by their top leaves and plant them in the pot at the same depth they were at in the flat.

Transplanting Outside

Step 1

Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over a partially shaded garden bed. Work the compost into the top 6 to 8 inches of the soil to add further drainage and organic material.

Step 2

Dig the planting holes to the same depth as the pot and slightly wider. Space the holes 8 inches apart in all directions.

Step 3

Remove the pot from the primrose's root ball. Set the primrose in the planting hole and adjust the depth of the hole as necessary so that the primrose sits in the bed at the same depth it was growing at in the pot. Fill in around the roots with soil and lightly firm it in place.

Step 4

Water the newly planted primroses so that the top 6 inches of soil is moistened. Spread a 1-inch layer of mulch around the plants to help preserve soil moisture between each irrigation.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Seeds
  • Plastic bag
  • Compost
  • Spade
  • Mulch


  • University of California Extension: Primroses
  • Washington State University: Primrose, a Cheerful Addition to the Early Spring Garden
Keywords: planting primrose seeds, transplanting primrose seedlings, growing perennial primroses

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.