Oenothera evening primrose

Height 90cm (3ft)

Planting distance 30cm (1ft)

Flowers early summer to mid autumn

Ordinary well-drained soil

Sunny site

Hardy biennial

Most evening primroses are perennials, but one species, Oenothera biennis, is a hardy biennial. Ideal for the back of a border or a wild garden, its pale yellow funnel-shaped flowers open out in the evening from early summer to mid autumn. The lance-shaped mid-green leaves, arranged in a large rosette on 90cm (3ft) high erect stems, make a perfect foil for the slightly fragrant and shortlived flowers.

If allowed to self-seed, evening primrose spreads like a weed.


Sow the seeds in pots or pans of seed compost in a cold frame in mid spring. Prick out the seedlings and grow them on in a nursery bed until mid autumn, when they can be planted out in the flowering position – preferably in ordinary well-drained soil in an open sunny site. Water the plants well in dry weather.

Pests and diseases

Mildew can cause a white powdery coating on the leaves.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Oenothera evening primrose


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