May 16, 2013

Japanese Primroses and Bleeding Hearts

Primula sieboldii selections from our garden ( from two years ago)  range from delicate snowflake shapes, to phlox-like pinks, to nodding
geisha types which are so treasured in Japan.
In the great world of primroses, there are hundreds of species, most, unfortunately never make it into our gardens for various reasons, either nurseries rarely carry them, they are simply hard to find, or home gardeners simply don't know about them. The early-blooming delicate woodland primrose, Primula sieboldii from Japan, is one such plant. A species with hundreds of fabulous selections so treasured in Japan where there are clubs, public parks and even events organized around the blooming of this plant, here in America, just try finding even one selection. It takes some work, but there are a handful of nurseries ( mostly on-line sources) who carry this creeping, barely a ground cover but certainly mat-forming perennial primrose. I say - find one, and see for yourself how wonderful this plant is. Then throw away your creeping phlox that everyone has, and raise-the-bar horticulturally in your neighborhood.

I love this lavender veined form. I took this photo two years ago, but sadly, I think we've lost this selection.

Many of our own seedlings are variable, yet being prolific seed producers, each year we save packets of seed
with the hopes of finding even more, better, selections. More-better. Yeah.

Nostalgic plants return year after year, often reminding us of our earliest gardening experiences, and so it is with the common Bleeding Heart, typically found in its pink form, this white selection is less common.

This nodding form is a favorite in Japan, as it expresses a more demure gesture, so appreciated there.
This selection is called 'Pink Geisha'.

Our Primula sieboldii brighten the spring garden, as they grow in woodland-like duff below trees in partial shade.
Like most spring woodland plants, the show is brief, yet spectacular. The foliage remains for most of the summer,
unlike most woodland ephemerals.


  1. How about your favorite mail order catalog links for these primroses? Great photos,Thanks

  2. omg such gorgeous shapes. proving once again when it comes to color and design, nature always gets there first!

  3. The first images is really fun! I love the styling and the transition of the colors.


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