A collection of yellow primrose flowers is a great way to add early season color to the spring garden. The foliage of many varieties remains in place long after the blooms have faded, providing color, interest and a useful way to plug gaps in the flower bed before late season flowers emerge.
Early to flower, these plants bring bright pops of color to the garden.
Members of the Primulaceaea family, there are over 400 different species recorded. The scientific name primula is derived from the latin for primus, meaning first or early. This refers to the fact that the primula is often one of the first flowers to emerge in the spring. A vital source of early season food for many pollinators in particular butterflies such as the Duke of Burgundy.
Typically primulas reach 8 to 25 inches tall, depending on the variety. As well as yellow primrose flowering varieties, these plants flower in many different colors such as white, red, blue, purple, pink and orange. Most varieties of primula produce flowers that form in clusters on long stems. This gives the plant a dense look. Primulas look particularly nice planted alongside many types of greeners as well as irises and ferns.
Our list of 20 yellow primrose flowers has tried to incorporate a wide range of plants, from large to small specimens and ones that produce flowers of one color to mixed or bicolored blooms. This range means that, hopefully, there is something for everyone on our list.
1 Common Cowslip
The bright yellow primrose flowers and fresh green foliage of the Common Cowslip (Primula Veris) provide gardeners with a reliable way to add color to shady areas of the garden.
Ideal for containers and mixed flower beds the Common Cowslip is an attractive, low maintenance specimen that is popular with pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Interestingly these flowers only break their dormancy after experiencing a chill. This means that the seeds are best sown in late summer or the fall for a spring display. The Common Cowslip is both deer and rabbit resistant.
The Common Cowslip is popular with both gardeners and pollinators.
2 Candelabra Primula Beesiana
This candelabra cultivar, also known as Bee’s Primrose is one of the most popular yellow primrose plants thanks to its deep-pink or purple flowers which have bright, lemon colored centers. Reaching about 2 ft tall, the Bee’s Primrose thrives in damp, shady conditions. Here the plant’s bright blooms add color and interest during the late spring and early summer. They are particularly attractive when planted alongside ponds or water features.
3 Common Evening Primrose
The attractive Common Evening (Oenothera biennis) is one of the most distinctive yellow primrose varieties, producing tall purple-tinged stems and bowl shaped petals. However, for many, it is the bright, lemon scented flowers that are of primary interest. Reaching 5 ft in height the Common Evening is a great way to add colorful height and structure to a flower bed. Ideal for wildlife gardens, meadows and mixed flower beds the Common Evening plant seems to thrive in poor soil and dry temperatures. Further adding to the attraction, these flowers, petals and stems of these plants are edible.
The large open flowers of Oenothera biennis.
4 English Cowslip
The English Cowslip (Primula veris) produces bright yellow primrose flowers during the spring months. You can also find orange and red flowering types. Whichever color you choose to plant, the bell-shaped flowers are typically face down towards the deep green foliage, giving the English Cowslip a distinctive appearance. The blooms of the Cowslip are lightly fragrant, further adding to the plant’s colorful attraction. The English Cowslip is best planted in moist, well draining soil.
5 English Primrose
Commonly found throughout the UK and parts of Europe, English cultivars (Primula vulgaris) are popular for their lightly colored flowers with a darker center. Sitting on stems around 8 inches tall the English primula flowers during the spring. Like many plants on our list these are best planted in well draining, rich soil and light shade. The English cultivar flowers in a number of shades but yellow primrose plants are amongst the most popular.
Primula vulagaris comes in a range of bright colors.
6 Giant Cowslip
Flowering through the summer months, Giant Cowslip (Primula florindae) can produce up to 40 colorful flowers on each stem. In addition to a heavy flowering habit, the stems can reach 4 ft in height, making this one of the largest yellow primrose flowers on the list. Further adding to the attraction, the Giant Cowslip is also fragrant. A reliable, low maintenance plant, Primula florindae is also disease resistant.
7 Evening Primrose
Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa) flowers profusely from late spring well into the fall. Sometimes called Pink Ladies, the silk-like flowers are pink-white with a yellow center. Popular with birds, Pink Ladies can reach 2 ft tall. One of the more resilient yellow primrose flowers on our list, these plants are ideal for inclusion in rock or coastal gardens as well as wildlife planting schemes. Pink Ladies are deer resistant and largely pest and disease making them both easy to grow and low maintenance. For more on the Oenothera speciosa, check out our growing guide.
The large open flowers of Oenothera speciosa have bright, eye-catching centers.
8 Ozark Sundrop
Also known as the Missouri Evening Primrose, Ozark Sundrop (Oenothera macrocarpa) is a sprawling variety reaching 12 inches tall and up to 18 inches wide. A low growing perennial, the bright sunshiny flowers of Ozark Sundrop are also lightly fragrant. A colorful ground cover option, the plants can also be used in rock gardens, containers, slopes or as edging paths and walkways.
9 Paradise Buttercup
Another Primula vulgaris cultivar, Paradise Buttercup is popular for its yellow primrose flowers with pristine white tips. A great cut flower, in favorable conditions Paradise Buttercup plants reach about 6 inches tall. The evergreen foliage is mottled in appearance, adding interest when flowers fade. Best planted in full or partial sun, creamy-tan or bright orange varieties are also available.
Bicolored blooms are particularly attractive.
10 Van Valhorn
A double flowering cultivar, Van Valhorn thrives in USDA Zones 7 to 9. Typically flowering in shades of soft white and pink, the bright, contrasting center helps the blooms to pop out from the backdrop of the plant’s dark green foliage. This colorful mix helps Van Valhorn flowers to stand out in many different types of gardens.
Another yellow primrose hybrid, Juliana (Primula x juliana) is one of the smallest cultivars on our list, rarely exceeding 2 inches in height. A great way to introduce color to a small or container garden, Juliana comes in a range of colors including attractive bright red plants with yellow centers. These are an ideal way to add spring color to window boxes as well as borders. Despite Juliana’s small size, this is an eye-catching and surprisingly sturdy little flower.
For many primula plants, a bright center adds contrast to the flower, bringing further interest.
A primula vulgaris hybrid Paragon produces cheery light pink and lavender blooms with bright yellow centers. One of many flowers that is popular with bees and butterflies, they are a great way to add low maintenance color to the garden or a flower pot.
Kisona (Primula kisoana) is popular for its bright magenta flowers with yellow centers. Ideal for most soil types Kisoana flowers in both full and partial sun positions. An ideal choice for planting under trees or shrubs, after a few years the plants send out runners, enabling them to encircle a tree.
Kisoana flowers sit on stems above the foliage.
Siebold is popular for its bicolored blooms. When fully open the lavender or light pink petals have a yellow primrose center. These delicate flowers sit on slender stalks above rich, green foliage. An ideal container plant, Siebold (Primula sieboldii) prefers sandy or well draining soil and morning sun and afternoon shade. In open gardens where shade is difficult to find, a Sunblock Shade helps to protect sensitive plants from burning or wilting.
15 Granny Graham
A low growing, bicolored cultivar, the petals of Granny Graham are dark purple with contrasting bright yellow centers. The deep green leaves add further interest. Ideal for USDA Zones 7 to 9 Granny Graham is a good plant for edging paths and borders. It can also be planted in pots or hanging baskets.
Varieties that produce darker colored blooms add depth and contrast to the flower bed.
A P. vulgaris cultivar, Francesca is another low maintenance entry on our yellow primrose flower list. One of the more unusual cultivars, Francesca produces attractive lime-green colored blooms with bright yellow centers. The petals can develop frayed edges as the blooms mature, adding further interest. These fragrant blooms like moist soil that isn’t allowed to dry out. The SONKIR Soil Moisture Meter provides an easy way to measure the water content of your soil. It is a particularly useful tool when cultivating plants that like damp conditions.
Drumstick (Primula denticulata) produces flat 4 inch flowers in shades of white, blue, lavender pink or deep purple. Each bloom has a sunny, golden center, adding interest and contrast. Depending on the cultivar, the foliage can be either lance shaped or wrinkly. Native to China, the plants happily grow in both full and partial sun positions. Reaching a mature height of 12 inches, like many yellow primrose flowers Drumstick plants work well in mixed flower beds, pots or as a colorful way of edging paths and patios.
Forming in a drumstick shape on tall stems above the foliage, Primula denticulata is a good way to add height to a flower bed.
Bulley or Candelabra Primula bulleyana produces clusters of attractive golden flowers that sit around 2 ft over the green foliage. An award winning flower, this is a long lasting specimen which looks great in flower beds and mixed cottage gardens.
19 Bumble Bee
Bumble bee (Primula vulgaris) is an early spring flowering, low maintenance yellow primrose flower. Best planted in sandy or clay soil which is neutral or slightly acidic, Bumble Bee plants are popular for their lush green foliage and brightly colored petals with a black trim. Happy in partial shade they are ideal in USDA Zones 3 to 8.
The patterned flowers of Bumble Bee make it one of the most attractive cultivars.
Polyanthus (Primula x polyantha) is a hybrid flower that was first bred over 300 years ago. Popular for its elegant stems and foliage, the bright petals of the flower meet to give the impression of a darker central star. Flowers can reach up to 1 ft above the foliage. Like many types of yellow primrose, the polyanthus flowers in the spring and is easy to grow.
Whichever yellow primrose variety, or varieties you chose to grow these attractive, early season flowering plants have a few things in common. They all love cool weather, thriving in partial shade in warm climates or full sun in cooler areas.
The majority of these plants grow best in soil that is either neutral or acidic, rich in humus and consistently moist. If you’re unsure of the condition of your soil, a soil test kit is a quick way to find out.
Never allow the soil to dry out. If you struggle to know when to water plants, a soil moisture meter is a useful device. Our article highlights the best soil moisture meters currently available. Aside from pruning once flowering has finished these are low maintenance plants.
Apply a diluted fertilizer which is high in potash, a tomato fertilizer is ideal, once every ten days beginning when the buds begin to form.
Apart from deadheading spent blooms these are largely low maintenance plants. As well as being deer resistant the flowers are also rabbit and largely disease resistant.
If you want to learn more about growing these attractive plants, why not consult our detailed care guide?
Bright yellow primrose flowers are a pleasing sight in early spring gardens. Adding color and interest to otherwise lifeless spaces, why not plant some in your garden?
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.