Primrose Flower Meaning and Symbolism

No matter the color of the actual flower, all primroses have a tiny yellow middle that looks like an eye. Flowers can be blue, white, pink, or purple, but all share this characteristic.

If the primrose is a pin-eyed variety, the center will appear more greenish, while a thrum-eyed primrose’s middle looks bright yellow.

While this plant looks sweet and simple, it does carry a lot of symbolism. If you’re planning on gifting a primrose to someone, it’s worth having a read through to see what the primrose represents!

Where does the Word Primrose Come from?

“Primrose” derives from the Latin word for first, “primus”, referring to how early in spring the flower blooms. It’s considered to be one of the first signs that spring is here. 

Thanks to this characteristic, primroses are often used as an embodiment of youth and the joys it brings, as well as renewal, and eternity.

What do Primroses Symbolize?

Primroses also stand for other concepts, not just youth and something eternal, or long-lasting.

Primroses represent young love, and the intensity of the feelings it causes, where you feel you cannot live without the person you’ve fallen for. 

They’re also a symbol of femininity and its charms. The delicate petals and all their stages represent the cycle of life, and rebirth.

Though, they’re not all positive meanings. Primroses can suggest inconsistencies, a crippling shyness, or unrecognized beauty or skill.

Don’t panic if you’ve received a primrose lately – this usually suggests that someone can’t bear to live without you. 

What does a White Primrose Signify?

Like a lot of white flowers, (see also Top 52 Amazing White Flowers) white primroses signify remembrance, mourning, and sadness. They stand for how important someone was to you, and how you will struggle to adjust to life without them. 

What does a Red Primrose Signify?

Like many beautiful red flowers, (see also red flowering plants) red primroses point to passion and desire, to those feelings which can cause us to abandon reason and act irrationally.

What is the Cultural Significance of a Primrose Flower?

Primroses are part of beliefs all over the world, and appear in many mythologies. In Norse mythology, the primrose is considered sacred to Freya, the Goddess of love. People would leave offerings of primroses and other flowers to gain her favor.

In England, there is a superstition that bringing any more or any less than thirteen primroses into your home invites misfortune, and it’s believed that primroses guard against dark magic or intention. 

On May Day, bunches of primroses were draped over every potential opening of farmhouses, from windows to doors, to ward off bad luck, but still allowing good luck to enter the home.  

Primroses are also called “key flowers” in some parts, because of a story about St. Peter, and the loose resemblance to keys themselves. As the guardian of the gates of heaven, St Peter had his keys in his hands and fell asleep when he was supposed to be on duty.

He was soon awoken by someone trying to get into heaven through the wrong way. While he scrambled to see this newcomer and what they might want, the keys slipped from his fingers because he was so groggy. 

The keys fell to Earth. Where they landed, the first primroses bloomed into being.

It’s interesting to note that the plant itself has sedative properties, and was used in the past to cure headaches, insomnia, and to soothe nerves.

All stories seem to have more significance, like a flower, when you take a closer look. 

What does a Primrose Tattoo Mean?

A primrose is a unique-looking flower for a tattoo. It represents someone, or something, that you cannot imagine your life without. You wouldn’t be the same person without them, or an event which changed your life. 

When Do You Give Primroses to Someone?

Primroses are best suited to indicate that you feel you cannot live without someone, and that you appreciate the bond you share, and every day you have with them.

Primroses are also a symbol of spring and new beginnings, so you can give them to someone who is going through a difficult period in their life, as a signal that things won’t always be as bad as they are now. 

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