By: Liz Baessler
Primula obconica is more commonly known as the German primrose or poison primrose. The poison name is derived from the fact that it contains the toxin primin, which is a skin irritant. In spite of this, German primrose plants produce beautiful blooms in a wide variety of colors for many months at a time, and can be very rewarding to grow. Keep reading for more German primula info.
German primrose plants prefer sandy loam, cool temperatures, and indirect moderate light. They cannot tolerate bright summer sun, and do best indoors near, but not too close to, an eastern or western window, where they can soak up the briefer, less intense morning or afternoon light. Water your German primrose moderately; don’t over soak the soil, but don’t let it dry out completely.
Growing German primroses is easy, as long as you take some precautions. The leaves of German primrose plants are covered in tiny hairs that secrete a sticky, toxic substance. To avoid contact, you should always wear gloves while handling German primrose plants. If your skin does come into contact with the leaves, you should notice irritation almost immediately in a swollen red area that may blister and develop linear streaks. To treat the irritation, take an antihistamine and apply a 25% alcohol solution to the area as soon as possible.
Like other primrose plants, the German primrose does very well in containers, but it can be planted outside. It is not frost hardy, so if it’s planted outside in a zone that experiences frost, it must be treated as an annual. If you want to start from seed, begin in indoor containers in July or August. By February or May, you will have blooming plants that can be transplanted outdoors.
Once plants are established, caring for Primula obonica takes very little effort.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Primroses
Although members of the Primula genus are hardy or half hardy perennials they are frequently grown as annual in the garden.
They are a large genus and therefore have a large range in height of between 7 and 90 cm most garden grown Primula are below 30 cm.
The time of years that Primula blooms in is species dependent and ranges from late in winter through to summer.
Primula are rosette plants and may have flat, tubular or bell shaped flowers.
As they love moist soil Primula are great little plants to grow in boggy areas, as well as in borders or in rock gardens.
Some common names for Primula genus members include Primrose, Cowslip, English Primrose, Fairy primrose and Polyanthus.
Of the 425 or so species of primroses, only four make good indoor plants. The inexpensive little plants that most people think of as primroses are Primula acaulis hybrids. They have colorful flowers held on short stems, close to the foliage, and often have eyes of contrasting colors. English primrose (Primula polyantha), fairy primrose (Primula malacoides) and German primrose (Primula obconica) have longer stems, and the flowers sit well above the low-growing foliage. The blooms on these species aren't always as showy as those on the hybrids, but they generally last longer.
Fragrant and showy, Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose) is an erect biennial featuring large, bowl-shaped, lemon-scented, yellow flowers, up to 2 in. across (5 cm), at the top of a stiff, purple-tinged flower stem. Blooming profusely from early summer to early fall, the flowers open in the evening and remain open through late morning. They rise on leafy, branched stems from a basal rosette of oblong, long medium green leaves. This Evening Primrose completes its life cycle in 2 years, its basal leaves becoming established the first year, while flowering occurs the second year. The seeds stay, however, and germinate if the soil is disturbed. The whole plant is edible: the leaves can be cooked as green vegetables and the flowers make beautiful salad garnish!
A valuable plant for its ability to grow in poor soils and tolerate drought. Provides a bold splash of color in the summer garden..
Did you know that Primroses are one of the first flowers to bloom in Spring? With very colorful petals surrounding a bright yellow center eye, the word Primrose literally mean, "first rose."
According to Norse mythology, the primrose is the sacred flower of Freya, goddess of love. In rituals honoring Freya, worshippers would lay primrose flowers on an alter dedicated to her. The Celts believed the primrose held the keys to Heaven while in other Lore, the primrose represents women with it's petals displaying the various stages in a woman's life, from birth to death.
For those who entertain thoughts of Fairyland, hanging a spray of fresh primroses over a doorway creates an invitation for fairies to enter your home while scattering primroses outside of your door will keep fairies away. There is also a German legend of a little girl who discovered a doorway, covered in various flowers, and when she touched it with a primrose, the door swung wide open and led her to an enchanted fairy castle.
Fairy Tales and Folk Lore aside, the primrose is a beautiful, versatile plant. Edible, it's leaves are used in salads, its flower as a garnish and roots as a tea to treat a variety of ailments. The primrose can be planted outdoors in late winter and early spring.
Primroses grow best in slightly acidic, moist soil with good drainage. Peat moss, added to the soil before planting, helps the soil retain moisture and allows primrose to thrive. To increase soil nutrient levels, add oak leaves, pine needles or compost.
Grown best in partial shade, as outdoor temperatures reach into the high 80s or 90s, soil will begin to dry out creating stress for primroses. Be sure to check soil moisture during this time.
Primroses grow well in both indoor and outdoor pots, making them a great choice when adding late winter or early spring color.
And, finally, in the United States, the primrose is one of the celebrated Birth Flower for all those born in February. It's meaning conveys modesty, distinction and virtue.
There are many varieties of primroses that grow throughout the world. They are all lovely flowering plants that enhance the look of any garden. However, if your primroses are outgrowing their pot or your garden, perhaps it is time to transplant the primroses to another area. Transplanting primroses does not have to be a headache if you do it correctly. As long as you listen to the needs of the plant, transplanted primroses should continue to grow well.
Choose a new place for your primroses in your garden. Primroses like partial shade and rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Transplant them to an area that is cool and they will thrive for years to come. If your soil is too clay-like, improve it by adding compost or manure and working it into a depth of about 8 inches.
Transplant primroses in the spring if they are young plants. If the primroses are older, transplant them once they have finished blooming. Dead-head older primroses before you transplant them.
Dig a hole for the primroses. Make sure the hole is deep enough to accommodate the primroses' roots. If they are young primroses, the hole should be about 4 to 5 inches deep and 6 inches wide. If the primroses are older the hole will need to be larger, about 6 to 7 inches deep and 8 inches wide.
Dig up the primroses from your garden or their container. Dig around the primroses in a wide circle, about 7 to 8 inches from the crown of the plant to avoid cutting apart the roots. Loosen the dirt around the primroses until you can easily lift them up.
Place the primroses in the new hole you dug for them. Fill the hole with soil and pat down firmly. Water the primroses for about three to five minutes after you transplant them.
You may dead-head young primroses to allow the plant to focus on getting established and not producing flowers.
Primroses can be invasive if planted in ideal conditions. Be sure to keep them in check.
It is fairly easy to look after primrose, Cowslip and other Primula members. They have a preference for a cool soil so it is good to supply a mulch before summer.
Primula should be fed with a non-organic fertiliser just before flowering. Following flowering remove stems and top dress the soil that Primrose grows in with peat moss.
If you require more Primula plants then they can be propagated by division.
I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Primula plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Soldanella and Cyclamen plants.