Dividing primroses

How to divide primroses

Boost your stock of primroses by dividing them – we show you how.

Do it:

Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov

Takes just:

20 minutes

In the wild, primroses are colonising plants that gradually spread from an original clump. 

By dividing the clumps, gardeners can take advantage of this tendency to spread to get new plants for free.

Summer through to autumn is the best time to divide them, but you can also try this with newly bought plants, too. 

Primroses need to be divided fairly frequently and single crowns of a nice, chunky volume will establish well. Within a couple of years they can be divided again. 

Take a look at more spring perennials to divide in autumn, including pulmonaria and tiarella.

Discover how to divide primroses in our step by step project. 

You will need

  • 10cm pots
  • Multi-purpose compost, enriched with home-made compost or leaf mould where possible


Lift your plant from the ground or empty it from its pot. It's best to do this on a cool, moist day. Gently tease clumps apart, discarding the old, non-productive centre.

Trim back roots to 10cm to encourage the formation of fine feeding roots.
Plant the clumps in soil enriched with home-made compost and/or leaf mould. Water well. 


Where to grow primroses

All primroses enjoy growing in the same location and conditions. Aim to provide the conditions they'd grow in, in the wild, with ample moisture, a bit of shade and humus-rich soil. 
Primula 'Gold Lace'
Primula 'Gold Lace'

Primroses to grow

  • 'Red Tomato' – with its small, yellow eyes, this unusually coloured polyanthus has the daintiness of old-fashioned forms
  • 'Wanda' – one of the first coloured primroses. Widely loved for its magenta flowers and looks lovely planted with our native primroses (Primula vulgaris)
  • 'Gold Lace' – this polyanthus was bred for competition. The yellow centre is surrounded by chocolate brown petals with neat, even markings
  • 'Lady Greer' – a dainty, understated polyanthus, with pale-cream, slightly belled flowers clustered at the top of stems
  • 'Garryarde Guinevere' – an outstanding old Irish primrose. Dark-leaved beauty with lilac-pink blooms and a robust constitution
  • 'Miss Indigo' – the blooms of double-form primroses last a long time because they're sterile. A lovely flower, though not accessible to bees
  • Modern polyanthus – flowers are held up on chunky stems and come in a kaleidoscopic range of colours
  • Modern hybrid primrose strains – bred to flower freely, even in winter, their large blooms come in a wide range of colours

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

How to divide lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

How to sow astrantia seed in summer

Propagating arabis

Related offers


Primula 'Gold Lace'

Save £60 on primulas

Buy a pack of three 9cm-potted primula 'Gold Lace' plants for half price at £15, or save £60 when you buy nine for just £30. These established hardy perennials will flower from March, adding early colour to your garden. Order now and your plants will be despatched from February 2018.

Order now


Save 15 per cent on seeds at Sarah Raven

Save 15% on seeds from Sarah Raven

Enjoy 15 per cent off the entire seed range at Sarah Raven. The range includes, beautifully scented sweet peas, cut flowers, vegetables, tomatoes plus many more.


Order now


Monty Don Ireland holiday

Meet Monty in Ireland

Explore some of Ireland's most breathtaking gardens on an exclusive four-night tour. Special guest Monty Don will join you for a garden tour and give an entertaining evening talk on his gardening life. Flights, four-star hotel, breakfast and four additional meals included in price.

Use code: GWIR

Order now