Primula vulgaris ‘April Rose’ – This cottage garden favourite features double garnet-red flowers (with yellow center occasionally showing through), often with inconsistent fine white edging. It blooms from early to late spring and is nicely contrasted by the mid-green foliage. Divide every 3 years (in early fall) to ensure plant vigor. Grows 4-6″ high by 8″ wide. Zone 5.
Primula vulgaris Kennedy Irish ‘Drumcliff” – An unusual primula featuring large white flowers with subtle lavender-pink undertones and a bright yellow eye. These literally gleam from March to May in the midst of dark purple-bronze foliage. Prefers part to light shade and evenly moist, humus-rich soils. Bred by Joe Kennedy. Grows 5″ high by 8″ wide. Hardy to zone 5.
Primula vulgaris ‘Quaker’s Bonnet’ (syn. ‘Lilacina Plena’, ‘Ladies Delight’) – A very old cultivar, known to be cultivated in English Gardens as early as 1835. ‘Quaker’s Bonnet’ features fragrant 1″ wide lavender-pink double blooms borne on lax stems starting in early spring. As with most Primula vulgaris, regular division (every 3 years) is recommended. Grows 4-6″ high by 8-12″. Z5.
Primula vulgaris BELARINA BUTTERMILK (syn. ‘Kerbelmilk’) – A newer introduction with beautiful creamy-yellow semi-double blooms that emerge as early as late February and last into May. These are beautifully contrasted by the bright green leaves with prominent midrib. Prefers evenly moist soil enriched with compost. Grows 5″ high by 8-12″ wide. Hardy to zone 5.
Primula vulgaris BELARINA AMETHYST ICE’ – A more beautiful primula would be hard to find, as the large lavender-blue double flowers (with subtle darker veining on the petals) emerge with a hint of violet in the center and are nicely highlighted with a white picotee. It thrives in open shade to part sun and requires even soil moisture. Grows 6-7″ high by 8-12″ wide. Zone 5.