Primroses in winter: successfully protecting from frost


I study plant biotechnology and often find myself confronted with the serious consequences that lack of knowledge and misinformation can have for nature. That is why I am so passionate about bringing people and nature closer together again.

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Primroses shine in bright colours in the garden in spring. But extreme frost can cause trouble for primroses. Here is how to protect the spring bloomer.

Delicately yellow primrose flowers
Hardy primroses push their flowers out of the ground in spring [Photo: Real PIX/]

Primroses (Primula) usually inspire as decoration in small pots in front of the front door or add a bloom to your home from February onwards. But even if it seems that the primrose from supermarkets and hardware stores is just a disposable item, very few species of primrose are annuals. Once planted out in the garden, they bloom year after year. The colourful early bloomers feel at home throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and only a few delicate species require light protection in winter. But with prolonged periods of frost, each primrose needs a little care to survive the winter unscathed.

Primroses: When frost leads to damage?

When frost leads to damage depends on the species of primrose. Most types of primroses available here are hardy and, like the common primrose (Primula acaulis), can withstand sub-zero temperatures at times. However, other species such as the German primrose (Primula obconica) must move immediately to a protected location when frost occurs. If the primrose has received too much frost, the leaves turn brown and die.

Pink German primrose flowers
German primrose plants must be overwintered in a frost-free location [Photo: travelershigh/]

Protect primroses in the bed from frost

In the bed the plantlets are quite frost hardy. However, during prolonged periods of frost below -5 ° C primroses should be covered. For this purpose, a layer of brushwood, leaves, moss, bark mulch or spruce branches is suitable. Alternatively, you can dig up the primroses, plant them in a pot and overwinter at home or in the gazebo. The following should be noted in this regard:

  • Cool but frost-free location (3 °C – 10 °C)
  • Do not fertilise
  • Water sparingly but regularly

Protect primroses in pot from frost

If the frost is light, it is enough to wrap the primrose with a little newspaper. However, at temperatures lower than -5 °C, it is better to put the pot with the plant in a cool, frost-free place such as the cellar or staircase. German primroses (Primula obconica) are not frost-resistant and must immediately be placed in a sheltered place. The same points as for “Protecting primroses in the bed from frost” should be observed.