Drumstick primula – info, planting, care and tips

Drumstick primula (Primula denticulata)
Drumstick primula (Primula denticulata)

The flower balls of the drumstick primula beautify the spring. This is how easy it is to plant and care for the perennial.

Profile of drumstick primula:

Scientific name: Primula denticulata

Plant family: primrose family (Primulaceae)

Other names: –

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring

Flowering period: March to May

Location: off-sun to partially shady

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, moderately nutritious, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flower beds, bouquets, single position, group planting, planters, borders, flower garden, natural garden, park, rock garden, potted garden, forest garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of drumstick primula

Plant order, origin and occurrence of drumstick primula

The drumstick primula, botanically Primula denticulata, belongs to the genus of the primroses and with it to the primrose family (Primulaceae). The perennial is native to the Himalayas and western China, where it grows on wet meadows.

Characteristics of drumstick primula


The deciduous plant forms a basal leaf rosette from which the strong flower stems emerge during flowering. It grows 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 in) high and almost as wide.


The broadly lanceolate leaves are rough and leathery. The tops of the leaves are darker in color than the undersides and the edges are regularly finely serrated.


The perennial does not carry the name drumstick primula not for nothing: At the heyday, which lasts from March to May, it adorns itself with round flower balls, which stand on long stems over the foliage. They are made up of blue-violet individual flowers.


The plant tends to self-seed, but the seedlings are often of inferior quality. To prevent them from spreading, the capsule fruits are cut off with the seeds, which develop after the bloom.

Flower of drumstick primula
Flower of drumstick primula

Drumstick primula – cultivation and care


As locations for drumstick primula only partial shady places in the garden are possible. The more light it gets, the moister the soil must be.


Unlike many other plants, the drumstick primula copes excellently with heavy soils – provided they are fresh to moist and rich in humus.


Keep a minimum distance of 20 centimeters (8 in) when planting in the bed. Plant 25 plants per square meter (10 sq ft).


In suitable locations drumstick primula hardly needs any care. During longer dry periods, however, it should be watered by hand.


After flowering the plant can be divided for propagation. In addition to division, sowing in spring is also possible.

Diseases and pests

Like most primrose plants, the drumstick primula rarely suffers from plant diseases or pests. However, a permanently too wet location can cause grey mold. Occasionally, the weevil appears.


Drumstick primula is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F. For a winter protection you can put some brushwood or foliage on the plants, but it is not necessary.

Use in the garden

In flowerbeds and borders, the dainty drumstick primula is best shown to advantage in a group. The appearance is especially beautiful when different flowering varieties are combined with each other or set together with other spring bloomers. It provides colorful accents in front of or under woody plants. The perennial can also be planted in a flower pot and placed on the balcony or terrace. However, the pot must have a certain depth, as the roots grow deep into the soil. The flower balls of the plant also look good in the vase.


There are many varieties of Primula denticulata available, some of which are over 100 years old. Since they are mostly grown from seeds, they can be variable in their flower color. These are very well known and popular:

  • Snowball’ (also Primula denticulata var. alba): white flowers, 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 in) high, old and proven variety for the garden
  • Blue selection’: dark blue to bright purple flowers, 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 in) high
  • Robinson’s Red’: with a maximum height of 20 centimeters (8 in) smaller than the species, bright red flowers
  • Ruby’: 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 in) high, ruby red to pink flowers

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