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primrose, flowering plants of the genus Primula of the family Primulaceae, with 490–600 species, chiefly occurring in the Northern Hemisphere in cool or mountainous regions. The plants are low-growing, usually perennial herbs; a few are biennials. Most species grow 25 to 50 cm (10 to 20 inches) tall, but some are as short as 5 cm (2 inches) and others as tall as 1.2 metres (4 feet). Many species are cultivated for their attractive flowers.
The fairy primrose (P. malacoides) and the Chinese primrose (P. sinensis) are generally grown in greenhouses. The polyanthus hybrids, probably including P. elatior and P. vulgaris in their parentage, are popular garden plants. P. auricula, also perhaps hybridized, gave rise to innumerable varieties that were especially popular in the 17th century and later. Many other species and hybrids are grown in cool greenhouses, rock gardens, or borders.Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.
The Primula genus contains at least 500 species and an almost infinite number of hybrids and cultivars. Most are short-lived perennials, and there are species native to almost every temperate region in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. However, the most common garden varieties are hybrids, derived mostly from P. elatior, P. juliae, P. veris and P. vulgaris. These hybrids are collectively known as Primula x polyantha. These spectacularly colorful plants are short-lived perennials in zones 5 to 7 but are often grown as bedding annuals in colder or hotter zones. P. x polyantha is the variety that is sometimes forced into early bloom as a potted gift plant.Primroses thrive in partial shade and look perfectly at home when planted in large swaths near a tree. If they have to, they can tolerate full sun, but they'll need more frequent watering to remain cool and moist. To guarantee you get the flower color and style you want, buy your primroses while they are in bloom. They should still remain in bloom for several weeks after you take them home and plant them. (Source: www.thespruce.com)