How to Split Wild Primroses

Updated February 21, 2017

Wild primroses (Primula vulgaris) are spring-blooming perennials that are native to the British Isles and have been adorning landscapes in the United States for generations. To grow more primroses in your garden, propagate them by splitting up a large clump and replanting the smaller, divided sections. In general, primroses can be divided every two to three years. Divide them after their blooming period in the spring or wait until fall, and divide them in the morning or evening when temperatures and sunlight are a bit milder.

Water wild primroses a day before you plan to split them. They may be in shock after they're division and not absorb water for a while. Therefore, watering beforehand will help keep them hydrated during the transition time.

Dig around a wild primrose clump, about 6 to 8 inches deep, cut in under the plant and lift it gently out of the soil. If you're cutting into roots, dig a bit deeper.

Pull apart the plant or use a utility or gardening knife to cut them. You can divide primroses into small sections, provided there is some green growth and healthy roots for each new plant. You may have to wash off the soil to see exactly what you're working with.

Replant the divisions as soon as you can in an area with some light afternoon shade or in partial shade. If you don't replant them immediately, place divisions in a shady area and keep the soil moist. If you washed away the soil, wrap the roots in a moist rag.


Don't worry if you cut away and discard off old, woody roots that don't really go with the new plant sections.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Knife
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About the Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.