Primula veris ‘Cabrillo’ – A newer seed selection of Cowslip which is slightly more compact, also reputed to be quite floriferous and uniform in its flowering habit. The bright golden-yellow blooms are quite fragrant and held on short stems, with the flowers accented by five pale orange dots on the face. Grows 8″ high by 8-12″ wide. A very hardy choice at zone 2.
Primula vulgaris ‘Dawn Ansell’ – A delightful cottage garden favourite with double blooms of pure white, each surrounded by a green collar (also known as a ‘Jack-in-the-Green’ type). The March to May flowers are borne over contrasting deep green foliage. Prefers part to full shade with rich, evenly moist soil. Grows 4-6″ high by 8-10″ wide. Zone 4.
Primula x polyantha ‘Gold Lace’ (syn. Primula x elatior ‘Gold-Laced Hybrids’) – A popular primula from the Victorian-era which actually dates back to the 1780’s. It bears clusters of rich mahogany-red flowers edged and centered in bright gold – a stunning contrast. The fragrant blooms are actually a good short cut flower. Grows 6-8″ high by 8-12″ wide. Zone 5.
Primula vulgaris ‘Corporal Baxter’ – This Double English Primrose features crimson-red blooms that shift to reddish-purple, and darken with age. A hint of yellow peeks through when the flowers are fully open. This species prefers even soil moisture and should be divided every three years to maintain the plant’s vigour. Grows 4 to 6″ high by 8″ wide. Zone 4.
Primula elatior – Oxlip is native to much of Europe and features umbels of 2 to 12 pale yellow flowers (with a soft orange ring or eye) that hang or drop to one side and are borne from April to late May. It prefers evenly moist soil in part to full sun. The rosette-forming leaves are deep green with rounded ends. Grows 12″ high by 12″+ wide. Hardy to zone 4.