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Why Is My Primrose Dying? [And What To Do]

Anyone who has tried to take care of primrose at some point may have wondered why it is dying. Not everyone has a green thumb. Because of that, we're here to help you. We've consulted gardeners regarding this topic to find out the reason and the solutions to this problem and here's what they say. 

Following are the reasons that possibly dying your primroses:

  • Bacterial Soft Rot
  • Fungal Root Rots
  • Gray Mold
  • Viruses
  • Environmental Stresses

The majority of issues above can be avoided if primroses are taken care of properly with the following:

  • Use suitable soil.
  • Water appropriately.
  • Provide bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Maintain a cool temperature.
  • Increase the humidity level in the area.
  • Fertilize only if necessary.
  • Prune to promote reblooming.
  • Propagate properly.

In this article, we’ll go into detail about each disease or factor that causes dying of primroses. We’ll also go through each guideline in taking care of these plants to have longer flourishing primroses. So keep on reading.

Colorful primrose flower in the garden, Why Is My Primrose Dying? [And What To Do]

Why Is My Primrose Dying?

Primroses (Primula vulgaris) are delicate, mounding flowers that naturally grow anywhere in the world. They are available in a wide range of colors, are fragrant, and have interesting, crinkly textures to their foliage.

Neglected withered primrose flowers

It is important to be vigilant for any potential problems of the primrose and to act quickly to address them especially when you see them dying. Extra caution is needed because issues can escalate alarmingly quickly once they surface. Knowing that most reasons for dying primroses are caused by diseases due to an unsuitable growing environment.

Below are the several possible reasons why primroses die and some preventive measures you can try on if it happens to them:

Bacterial Soft Rot

Primroses that are growing in warm, humid environments or overly wet soil are susceptible to bacterial soft rot. This is due to the Erwinia carotovora infection which is most common when the temperature is around 70-80°F. Primroses that are harmed typically wilt and decompose close to the ground before turning dark green.


The plants should be spaced so that they can get enough air, watered from below, and guarded against wounds that could become infected. By removing and destroying affected plants as soon as symptoms emerge, you can stop the spread of bacterial rot.

Fungal Root Rots

Primroses are left stunted and withered by three fungi, Pythium, Phytophthora, and Rhizoctonia, along with yellow, dying foliage. These soil-borne illnesses affect roots, which reduces their capacity to transport nutrients and water.

Primrose seedlings are wilted and killed by Pythium, while older plants are attacked by Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia. Primroses are more likely to contract root rot infection in poorly drained or excessively wet soils. 


By choosing primroses with dense, healthy green foliage and well-developed roots, you can prevent the introduction of root rot into your garden. Removing already-infected plants plus watering when necessary will help to prevent the spread of the diseases.

Gray Mold

Even though the gray mold (Botrytis cinerea) prefers dead plant tissue for its normal diet, moist weather with temperatures above 54°F encourages its growth on healthy plants.

New shoots and leaves are discolored and wilted by the disease, and as they deteriorate and fall off, they are typically covered in fuzzy mats of gray or brown spores. It disfigures petals of flowers with wet spots.


Temperatures below 54°F and dry conditions suppress the growth of the fungi. Pruning infected plant tissues, removing contaminated soil particles, and watering the plants from below will help control the disease.


Primroses are infected by the viruses that cause primula mosaic, tomato spotted wilt, and impatiens necrotic spot through damaged tissue.

The primula mosaic and tomato spotted wilt viruses are also spread by two sap-eating insects, the aphids and thrips, as they feed. Wilting, deformed yellowing leaves, or flowers with spots, lines, or mottling are typical virus symptoms. 


The removal of the affected primroses, as well as any nearby weeds that may be home to the viruses or their insect vectors, is necessary for these incurable diseases.

Environmental Stresses

Primroses frequently wilt from lack of moisture in dry soils and strong sunlight, just as they may do in excessively wet soils due to root rot.


These plants require soil that drains well, stays consistently moist, and receives filtered light throughout the day. When the temperature exceeds 75°F to 80°F, they start to decline.

How To Take Care of Primrose?

Hands of an elder man planting flowers

These flowers are quite delicate, so special care is needed to ensure their best appearance and longest bloom. Below is the information needed to maintain the lush, vibrant, and abundant blooming of your primrose.

Use Suitable Soil

These plants require a potting mixture that is very rich, loose, well-drained, and contains a lot of humus. This is offered by the majority of all-purpose potting soils made of peat moss.

By mixing equal amounts of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite, you can create your potting mixture. This mixture offers excellent drainage in addition to good moisture retention. Primroses prefer rich, well-draining, slightly acidic soil when growing outside.

Click here to see this potting mix on Amazon.

Water Appropriately

Hand holding water sprinkler watering the garden

To flourish, primrose needs sufficient and regular moisture. Don't let the soil become too wet but also don't let it become too dry. In order to adjust watering, keep an eye out for wilting symptoms.

Avoid overwatering primroses when growing them indoors. Root rot or deadly fungal infections are encouraged by excessive water. A sign of root rot is wilting even when the plant is receiving water.

Provide Bright, Indirect Sunlight

Primroses can tolerate both sun and shade depending on their environment. When grown indoors, these plants prefer brightly lit window sills but should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Put primroses in a shady or bright corner when you plant them outside.

Maintain A Cool Temperature

Primroses thrive in moderate to cool climates; extreme heat can wilt and kill plants. They prefer growing at temperatures between 50°F and 65°F, and they don't like it when it gets hotter than 80°F.

Increase The Humidity Level In The Area

Additionally, these flowers enjoy high levels of humidity. To add more water to the air indoors, place the pot on a tray filled with wet pebbles or use a nearby room humidifier. Putting several plants together will also increase the humidity in the immediate area.

Click here to see these peebles on Amazon.

Fertilize Only If Necessary

Fertilizer for the garden

Fertilizing is not always required because these flowers only bloom for a short period of time. If blooms are desired, provide a diluted feeding of a phosphorus-rich fertilizer. However, if the flowers are in fertile soil, fertilization may not be necessary.

Prune To Promote Reblooming

This can be done by pinching off the oldest, darkest primrose blooms which will promote more frequent reblooming and extend the plant's flowering season. Primrose blooms will gradually become darker as they age. However, pinch gently to prevent severe harm.

Propagate Properly

Following are the different ways of propagating primroses:

Leaf Cutting Propagation

Because its leaves don't go dormant in the winter, it is always possible to propagate this plant by cutting leaves, which produces more of its parent plant. After the spring bloom, the plant is beginning to use its energy to produce a new leaf and strengthen its roots, which makes it a good time to propagate.

In a small pot filled with soilless potting mix, place one primrose leaf with a stem measuring 1 1/2 inches long. Sphagnum moss, perlite, and vermiculite are the main ingredients in the soilless potting mixture.

Homemade rooting medium mixtures frequently contain sand. The area where the stem is inserted into the mixture produces one or more new plants.

Root Cutting Propagation

It is comparable to leaf cutting propagation. To display the section of the plant's root system that is connected to its crown, gently move the soil around the root. Cut a 1 1/2 to 2 inches section of root at an angle at each end.

Over a soilless potting mixture, place the root section, then add another 1/2 inch of sand or mix on top of that. Inside a plastic bag, you can place the potted cuttings to boost humidity and promote root growth. You should transplant new shoots into a typical potting soil mixture when they are 2 to 3 inches tall.

Root Division Propagation

Additionally, the entire root system of primrose plants can be divided to create new plants. As the plants grow larger, the bloom size might gradually decrease. By lifting the big clump, splitting it into several smaller ones, and then replanting them, you can easily propagate them.

To see the root system, gently dig around the plant using a trowel or a shovel. To divide the clump, you may need to use a sharp knife or pull separately the roots and the new plant growth carefully. Put the fresh root division into composted aged organic soil.

Seed Propagation

After their early blooming stage, primroses reproduce in the spring by dropping their seeds. If home gardeners want to spread the plant by collecting its seeds, they usually keep the dried-up flowers attached to the plant.

Seeds grow and are simple to gather for preservation. When it is cooler outside (less than 80°F), plant primrose seeds. Directly sow in well-drained, fertile soil, and then cover with 1/8 inch of soil.


Colorful primrose spring plants in bloom

It hurts to see your primroses dying. In fact, these plants are susceptible to various diseases and pests, just like many soft herbaceous plants. Due to the differences in how they are controlled, it is essential to be able to recognize them which is explained above.

However, with proper care and attention, your primroses will grow healthy and become less vulnerable to disease or pest infestation. It's also possible that our carelessness (or even overenthusiasm) is what's killing them.

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