Primula veris

cowslip

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

A harbinger of spring, Primula veris brightens the garden with its multiple golden yellow flowers. There is a smidgen of orange to reddish color at the base, inside each flower of this European native. William Shakespeare, in his A Midsummer's Night Dream, wrote, "The cowslips tall her pensioners be. In their gold coats spots you see. Those be rubies, fairy favors. Their sweet smells come from those little freckles." Indeed, cowslips have a light fragrance that wafts upon the springtime air.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 0 ft. 9 in. (0.23 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: light to open shade

Water Requirements: regular watering

Seasonal Interest: bright yellow flowers in spring

Wildlife Associations: bees

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: blue, bronze, burgundy, lavender, pink, purple

Great Color Partners: chartreuse, cream, silver, white

Culture Notes
Plant these primroses in light to open shade. For the best growth a soil that is rich would be ideal, although clay or sand would be fine as well as long as it is well-drained. Water these perennials regularly during the dry season. If given the right conditions, these plants will self-sow creating a vivid multitude of flowers. However, they generally do not spread beyond into drier areas.
Geek Notes
Primula veris is native to a wide-spread area of Europe and Eastern Asia: