Primula veris

Family: Primulaceae

Countries: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Middle East, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Siberia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Wales, Yugoslavia

Primula veris is also known as the Cowslip.  Primula veris is very pretty perennial that holds a special place in many people’s hearts, reminding us of country walks and the beauty of nature.  Primula veris is a commonly seen wildflower throughout Europe – being known and loved by so many – I am certain this lovely plant has many more common names.  Plants form rosettes of leaves, rather like their relations: the Primrose (Primula vulgaris).  This is a low-growing plant.  I guess the Cowslip’s flowering stems are about 25cm (10 inches) tall.

In the UK, Primula veris flowers in April and May when plants send up stems topped with nodding, bell-shaped, golden-yellow coloured flowers.  Primula veris flowers have a lovely perfume, which is sweet, fresh, and a little bit fruity.  The flowers are edible and are used to make Cowslip wine.  Primula veris leaves are also edible.

Where should you plant Primula veris?  This plant thrives in full sunshine and partial shade.  Plant Primula veris in moist but well-drained soil – choose a spot where water drains through after heavy rain.  These plants will grow in almost any soil – I’ve grown Primula veris in clay, sandy and chalky soils.  Primula veris is a lovely choice of plant for a meadow, a flowering lawn, planted up and over a bank, in containers, garden beds or borders, in orchards, alongside hedgerows, moist or dry grasslands, and around woodland edges.  This is a perfect choice of plant for a wildlife garden; as the flowers are an important source of nectar for bees, butterflies, moths, and other pollinating insects and Primula veris (and Primula vulgaris) foliage is a food plant for rare Duke of Burgundy Butterflies.

Some seeds take longer than others to germinate and Primula veris seeds can take a while to germinate.  Sow Primula veris seeds outside in autumn.  Sow the seeds where you want your Primula veris plants to grow and allow the winter weather to naturally stratify your seeds.  Alternatively plant Primula veris in springtime, when plants are available from nurseries and garden centres.

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