While the common primrose that grows in the wild bears a pale yellow flower there are many varieties of primulas that come in several different colors. Primulas prefer cool and damp conditions which is why there are one of the early spring flowers. I came across an article by Lynne Cherot which I found on her Sensible Gardening website where she describes seven varieties of these attractive flowers.
At one time I thought all primroses were pretty much the same but of course I was very mistaken. There are several types of primroses and more and more of them are becoming available through the nursery trade. Generally we think of primroses growing in English gardens where the climate is on the cooler and wetter side, but even in an arid garden you can find spots that will do just fine. Spring of course is cooler, which they enjoy, and small shady spots of even moisture will do the trick.
Here is a sampling of the primroses that I like to grow, and even the smallest patch is delightful in the spring garden. Some of these will seed themselves here and there and over the years the display just gets better. If your clumps get big enough to divide, do so in the very early spring.
Primula is a very large genus which is divided into many different botanical sections. To add to the mix many hybrids have been developed. The five main types of primula are Auricula, Candelabra, Acaulis, Polyanthus and Juliana.
Rosette forming, evergreen with scalloped gray-green leaves and large pink, reddish purple or white flowers sometimes flushed pink and a white centre. Hardy to zone 4. Blooms very early in the spring.
Often called drumstick primrose. Rosette-forming deciduous perennial spoon-shaped leaves and spherical umbels of bell shaped flowers with yellow eyes. Very hardy to zone 2. Blooms early in the season.
See more at Sensible Gardening