How to Split Primula Flowers


The primula, also known as the primrose, is one of the earliest and brightest of the spring-blooming flowers. Primula is a hardy flower that will be at home with other spring flowers, in a patio container, along a garden path, or in a rock garden, where it will bloom happily from late winter until May. After two or three years, primula will usually need to be divided into smaller plants to keep it looking its best, especially if the center of the plant appears to be dying, or if the plant looks crowded and droopy. Divide primula after it blooms in spring, or in autumn.

Step 1

Use a shovel to prepare the soil for the divided primulas. Remove any weeds and cultivate the soil to a depth of at least 10 inches. Mix a shovelful of compost or peat moss into the top of the soil.

Step 2

Dig the primula. Insert the garden fork into the soil a few inches from the plant, and rock the fork back and forth as you lift the primula. If the primula is large, it may require digging in a circle around the plant.

Step 3

Shake the excess soil off the plant. If there is a lot of stuck-on soil, don't be afraid to loosen it with a garden hose. Separate the roots gently with your fingers, and pull the plant apart into individual pieces, each with a root. When you get to the old, woody middle of the primula, throw it on the compost pile.

Step 4

Dig a hole in the prepared area for each newly-divided primula. Use a pair of scissors to trim the roots back to about 4 inches. Plant the primula in the hole with the top at the same level in the soil as it was previously. Spread the roots evenly, and don't allow them to become matted or tangled.

Step 5

Water the area thoroughly, and spread a thin layer of organic mulch around the new primulas. Leave space between the plant and the mulch, because if the mulch covers the plant, it can smother it.


  • Texas Cooperative Extension: Divide Perennials in 10 Easy Steps
  • Barnhaven Primroses: Dividing Your Plants
Keywords: divide primula, primula, primrose

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.