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Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose)

Common Evening Primrose, Evening Star, Sun Drop, Coffee Plant, Cure-All, Fever Plant, Field Primrose, Four O'Clock, German Rampion, Large Rampion, Night Willowherb, Scabbish, Scurvish, Wild Four O'Clock

Oenothera Biennis, Common Evening Primrose, Evening Star, Sun Drop, Coffee Plant, Cure-All, Fever Plant, Field Primrose, Four O'Clock, German Rampion, Large Rampion, Night Willowherb, Scabbish, Scurvish, Wild Four O'Clock
Oenothera Biennis, Common Evening Primrose, Evening Star, Sun Drop, Coffee Plant, Cure-All, Fever Plant, Field Primrose, Four O'Clock, German Rampion, Large Rampion, Night Willowherb, Scabbish, Scurvish, Wild Four O'Clock

Fragrant and showy, Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose) is an erect biennial featuring large, bowl-shaped, lemon-scented, yellow flowers, up to 2 in. across (5 cm), at the top of a stiff, purple-tinged flower stem. Blooming profusely from early summer to early fall, the flowers open in the evening and remain open through late morning. They rise on leafy, branched stems from a basal rosette of oblong, long medium green leaves. This Evening Primrose completes its life cycle in 2 years, its basal leaves becoming established in the first year, while flowering occurs in the second year. The seeds stay, however, and germinate if the soil is disturbed. The whole plant is edible: the leaves can be cooked as green vegetables and the flowers make beautiful salad garnish!

A valuable plant for its ability to grow in poor soils and tolerate drought. Provides a bold splash of color in the summer garden.

  • Winter hardy, this perennial plant grows 3-5 ft. tall (90-150 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm). May spread by self-seeding in a somewhat weedy fashion.
  • Best in full sun in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Tolerates gravelly or sandy soils, drought, and light shade.
  • A great choice for prairies and meadows, wildflower gardens, or naturalized areas. May be planted in beds, and borders.
  • No serious insect or disease issues. Watch for leaf spots and powdery mildew.
  • Deer resistant, this plant attracts bees, birds, and butterflies. The flowers are fertilized by night-flying moths which are attracted by their lemon fragrance and by bees in the morning before closure. The seeds are important as bird feed.
  • Propagate by seed sown in early summer. Cut back after flowering.
  • This perennial wildflower is native throughout Canada and the U. S. except for Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 9
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Onagraceae
Genus Oenothera
Common names Sun Drop, Wild Four O'Clock, Sundrop, Coffee Plant, Evening Primrose, Evening Star, Common Evening Primrose
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 30" (80cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Midwest, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northeast, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Rocky Mountains, South Carolina, South Dakota, Southeast, Southwest, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia (Beach Primrose)
Calylophus lavandulifolius (Lavendar-leaf Sundrops)
Calylophus serrulatus (Plains Evening Primrose)
Oenothera elata (Hooker’s Evening Primrose)
Oenothera pallida (Pale Evening Primrose)
Oenothera fruticosa (Sundrops)

Recommended Companion Plants

Papaver rhoeas (Flanders Poppy)
Silene armeria (Garden Catchfly)
Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ (Sage)
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ (Bettony)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ (Lavender)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 9
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Onagraceae
Genus Oenothera
Common names Sun Drop, Wild Four O'Clock, Sundrop, Coffee Plant, Evening Primrose, Evening Star, Common Evening Primrose
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 30" (80cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Midwest, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northeast, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Rocky Mountains, South Carolina, South Dakota, Southeast, Southwest, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Do I Need?
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Oenothera (Evening Primrose)
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