This pretty little plant has had its share of troubles over the years, as its numbers have declined rapidly in recent years – but that’s not to say you want it taking over your garden! If you’re looking for how to prevent cowslip primrose from taking over your lawn, you’re in the right place – read on for our best tips.
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How To Prevent Cowslip Primrose From Taking Over Your Lawn
Although they are gorgeous little plants that pollinators love, you might not want cowslip primrose to be all over your garden!
Unfortunately for you, this is a pretty hardy little plant which is determined to grow, so it might take a few attempts to get rid of it completely.
You can, of course, simply mow them – this will get rid of them temporarily, but you will still have the problem of roots remaining under the ground.
Digging them up is another good option – although this is a little more trouble and will make your lawn a little unsightly for a time, you will know that you have definitely got rid of them.
You can also transplant cowslip primrose – this is a great option for if you don’t actually want to kill them!
Making the conditions unfavourable is another way to go – if you remove all of its favourite conditions then you will find your cowslip primrose plants don’t grow as well, if at all.
How Do Cowslips Spread?
Cowslips, like all flowering plants, produce seeds to help them lay down the next generation. However, this is not the only way they spread!
- Cowslips’ roots can also start to spread underground, so that that one plant you started off with might turn into a clump that is several feet across.
- As long as it is growing in its preferred conditions and left to its own devices, cowslips can spread almost indefinitely!
- If you are making a wildflower meadow or an untamed patch in your garden, cowslips are a great, easygoing addition which will attract many pollinators.
- You can either simply enjoy the new plants that pop up, or you can try to curb the spread of these tenacious little beauties.
- Collecting the seeds or removing the seed heads entirely once the plant has finished flowering will go a long way to preventing too much spreading.
- You can also dig up the roots, divide the plant and move one half elsewhere, or give it away, or even compost it.
- You will find that a cowslip in the shade will still grow, but it will not produce flowers – this is one way you can control the spread of them.
Can You Mow Cowslips?
As long as you have a good mower, you can mow anything! However, some plants respond better to it than others.
If you mow your cowslips, you shouldn’t really expect anything else from them that year – they are perennials so they should pop back up the following year.
In the wild, cowslips are eaten by several types of wildlife, and more recently by grazing animals in human husbandry.
This shows that they are fairly hardy to being demolished, and it shouldn’t affect their resurgence the next year.
If you are trying to get rid of cowslips then you are far better off digging them up – simply mowing them will not stop them popping back up!
Digging up the roots is probably the most effective way of getting rid of cowslips – mowing will imitate their natural habits and they’ll simply come back.
However, studies have been done to analyze the effectiveness of mowing cowslips, and what this does to their productivity – have a look at this article if you want more information.
Are Cowslips Protected?
Cowslips are a very important part of the ecosystem – they provide a great deal of food for nectar loving pollinators.
Because they flower earlier than many other plants, cowslips are used as an early food for bees, butterflies, beetles and other insects.
These pretty flowers have long been used in making country wine, as well as being used in certain types of cooking as well as a medication for improving sleep.
Cowslips declined massively in the middle of the 20th century, due to a change in farming methods, and efforts have been made to increase their numbers.
Thankfully, this tenacious little plant is bouncing back, but it is still protected in some countries, e.g. Northern Ireland.
This detailed video will tell you everything you need to know about cowslips!
What Do You Do With Cowslips After Flowering?
These little plants are very self sufficient – they grow with very little intervention, and will grace the early spring with their presence!
There is very little you actually need to do to keep your cowslip primroses going and growing and healthily as they can.
- Deadheading is not necessary, unless you don’t want the plants to spread any further.
- Simply leave them well alone after they have flowered; the heads will go to seed and you will have a good collection to plant next year – or just leave them be!
- You can deadhead a few of the flower heads, as this can encourage further blooming, but remember that you won’t get the seeds this way.
- You can pick the flowers and add them to a country posy – bear in mind that they do wilt quickly though, so they will need to go in water straight away.
- After the flowers are passed, and winter is approaching, you can mulch your cowslip patch to help add some more nutrients to the soil.
The humble cowslip is a really lovely plant, and one that we should definitely all be looking after as best we can.
Once you’ve figured out how to stop it from taking over your garden entirely, you can enjoy it for its own merit – growing well away from your lawn, that is!