Primula elatior (Oxlip)

Scientific Name

Primula elatior (L.) Hill

Common Names

Oxlip, True Oxlip, Great Cowslip, Bardfield Oxlip


Primula elatior subsp. elatior, Primula veris var. elatior

Scientific Classification

Family: Primulaceae
Subfamily: Primuloideae
Genus: Primula


Color: Light yellow
Bloom Time: Spring


Primula elatior is a herbaceous, perennial plant up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall and up to 10 inches (25 cm) wide, with a rosette of leaves up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) wide. It produces light yellow flowers in spring, in clusters of 10 to 30 together on a single stem up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall.

Primula elatior - Oxlip
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USDA hardiness zone 3a to 7b: from −40 °F (−40 °C) to 10 °F (−12.2 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Potted indoor Primula are a delightful way to usher out winter or welcome in the spring. They are available in a wide range of striking colors, forming a mass of flowers. Most people prefer the taller, upright delicate Primulas indoors, but even a pot of common Primula is a nice addition. Extend the flowering season by pinching off dying buds. After the plant has done blooming, consider moving it outside. While inside, do not overwater; wilting even though the plant is getting water is a sign of root rot.

It's unlikely you'll be repotting your potted Primula. If you do, make sure not to bury them too deep—burying too deep is a prime reason Primula succumb. Bury the plants so the top of the root ball is slightly elevated above the level of the surrounding soil. Never pile soil up around the stem of a flowering plant.

They are propagated from seed, which are sown directly in soil or potting media. Most pots of indoors Primula are purchased as flowering plants, destined to be set atop a desk, sill, or table until they're done flowering… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Primula.


Native to nutrient-poor and calcium-rich damp woods and meadows throughout Europe, with northern borders in Denmark and southern parts of Sweden, eastwards to the Altai Mountains and on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. In the British Isles, it is rarely seen outside East Anglia.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids


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