favorite (bawdy) primrose

primula-kisoana.jpgTHERE IS NOTHING PRIM about Primula kisoana, a tart and a thug rolled into one delightful package. Oh, how very yummy. The details:

This Japanese woodlander spreads to create thick mats of scalloped, blue-green, fuzzy foliage, from which erupt (and I think that’s exactly the word) orchid-pink flowers in early spring on 6- or 8-inch stems. It is never shy, and given part shade and a humusy soil it will romp…but in the nicest way.

Arrowhead Alpines Nursery sometimes sells it. Once you’ve got it, there will be plenty for a lifetime (and friends). I’ve read about a white variety, but my thought is, why bother when you can have this naughty thing?

  1. Don says:

    We have bark chip pathways in our garden, and P. kisoana loves to migrate out into the decomposing bark… lots of nice single plants to passalong!


  2. margaret says:

    Welcome, Don..and migrate it does! I scooped up some little hot-pink travelers myself yesterday and gave them to a neighbor, who will have his own crop of wandering primula soon. By the way, the link of your name didn’t go to your blog and I think I fixed it..check me, though.

  3. Mike says:

    Your garden blog never fails to feature some wonderful flower or plant I have never heard of or seen before. My Sunset and other garden books are near me so I can “read up” on them. These primroses are beautiful – they can creep in my yard anytime.

  4. margaret says:

    Welcome, Mike, to the blog. I am so glad you are finding fun new things. And we have barely begun…a whole year lies ahead, each season with its own treasures.

  5. Andrew Ritchie says:

    …Treasures and innovations! Just wait until you see Margaret’s squash and pumpkin hamocks. I had a preview in ’06.

  6. Carol, May Dreams Gardens says:

    The only primroses I knew of were those they sell in the garden centers in the spring. And I don’t really care for them. But this primula looks interesting and maybe there is room in my garden for it. (And apparently I’d need to plan a lot of room for it).

  7. margaret says:

    @Carol: It will be pretty easy to keep in check–just eager to spread if you allow it to.
    @Sogalitno: Well you never know if I will be feeling benevolent on Garden Open Days this year (visit gardenconservancy.org for details).

  8. Amanda says:

    These are beauts! Do deer like them? I’m in upper Westchester County where the deer eat everything, even geranium flowers!

  9. Deb says:

    I’ve never been a fan of primroses (I find them too squatty and tired looking after their bloom), but this one might just change my mind. I have a native woodland that I am working on ‘editing’ a bit — snipping out the blackberries and adding some woodland plants along the paths. I think I’ll give this one a try. Thanks.

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Deb. Yes, if you are not a primrose-type then this is the primrose for you. :) It’s in bloom right now and I am happy to see it screaming across the yard at me from here and there. A good plant. See you soon again.

  10. Pat Webster says:

    What I bought as primula kisoana looks nothing like this fabulous plant. Mine are much smaller and pale as ghosts in comparison. If I have the white ones, you are SO right not to bother looking for them. But I have to find your stunner. Then let it spread!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Pat. The flowers are really hot-colored for quite some time, then they start to fade to unremarkable pinks before going to seed. Maybe they are just late in their bloom cycle? (Hoping, hoping.) See you soon again, I also hope.

  11. Phillip J. Wilkinson says:

    I ordered and received my original plant in March of 2012 by April 2013, thanks to the runners I had 10 plants. Where they were planted was a shaded bed that had been mulched with fine pine bark mulch for many years. I did not think to bring some when we moved. But now I know I have to order some for my new garden.

  12. Lacey says:

    I’ve finally done it. After years and years of drooling over your photos of these primroses, and feeling frustrated that no one sells them, I’ve ordered seed from the UK. Plant World Seed had a buy 2 get one free, so I have 3 envelopes of seeds somewhere over the Atlantic headed my way.

    I’m going to try three methods: 1. PWS method of planting in loam in a pot outside in cool weather and let nature do its thing. 2. A primrose book method: plant in potting soil in 70F and if no germination in a few weeks, move to the fridge for a bit. (Husband loves to have pots of dirt in our fridge!) 3. the damp paper towel and baggie method that I learned from you. Except I’m usually too lazy to move the germinating seeds off the paper towel… I put the damp paper towel seed-side down on a pot and call it good enough. Maybe I should be less lazy with these seeds since I’ve waited so long…

    Wish me luck!

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