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PRIMULA malacoides

Image of Primula malacoides

Jessie Keith

Family

Primulaceae

Botanical Name

PRIMULA malacoides

Plant Common Name

Fairy Primrose

General Description

Fairy primrose is among the most charming of all cool season perennials. It is native to China where it inhabits moist areas at the edges of fields and forests. It was not introduced to the west until the end of the Nineteenth Century.

This sweet little primrose forms neat clumps of flat, soft, downy leaves with undulating edges. The flowers are what make fairy primrose so magical. Each rosette sends up a straight leafless stem with up to three tiered whorls of small blossoms with lobed petal tips. Each whorl can have up to a dozen flowers, which may be retained for weeks. There are lots of cultivated varieties in pastel shades of pink, lavender purple and white.

This delicate perennial prefers partial sun and moist, humus-rich soil. It is intolerant of summer heat and goes dormant when temperatures become too steamy. It is a beautiful perennial that looks best planted in masses or large sweeps. It is also an ideal container plant.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Width

    8"-10" / 20.3cm - 25.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring

  • Native To

    China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Purple, Pink

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Bog Garden, Hanging Basket, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes