Primroses are one of the first flowers to bloom in early spring and are available in virtually all colors. They are low-growing perennials that are popular additions to bouquets and last a long time as a cut flower. Primroses are relatively difficult to start from seed but are available as small transplants in early spring. They are a welcome and colorful addition to shade gardens.
Find a site for your primroses in full-to-partial shade with rich soil. Primrose will tolerate more sun in early spring but needs shade as temperatures warm into summer.
Improve the soil. Primroses like rich, friable soil that contains lots of organic matter. Add at least two-to-four inches of peat moss and two-to-four inches of compost to the surface of the garden bed. Incorporate these amendments into the soil by turning it over with a garden shovel or by rototilling. Rake the area smooth when finished.
Primroses are difficult to start from seed and are widely available as small bedding plants in early spring. Because primroses like cool temperatures, you can plant them outdoors in early spring as soon as temperatures are reliably above 45 degrees. Dig a hole only slightly larger than the root ball of the transplant. Plant primroses so their crown is even with the surface of the soil. Space them six-to-eight inches apart. Firm the surface of the soil gently after back filling the planting hole with soil.
Water by hand with a watering can. Check the plants daily and keep evenly moist but not wet until the plants become established. Thereafter, provide with the equivalent of at least one inch of rainfall per week.
Lay down a three-to-six-inch layer of organic mulch in the planting bed around the primroses. This will help keep the soil evenly moist and discourage the growth of weeds.
Cover the planting bed in fall with one-to-two feet of fallen autumn leaves or hay to protect them from freezing winter temperatures. Remove the mulch in early spring.
Feed with garden compost in early spring. Pull the mulch back and apply a one-to-two-inch layer of compost to the soil around the plants. Replace mulch.