Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose

Botanical Name: Oenothera biennis

En Fran├žais: Onagre bisannuelle.


Colour: Yellow

The Evening Primrose’s are generally known for flowers that close during daylight hours; the flowers are therefore hermaphrodite, produced on a tall spike and only last until the following noon. They open visibly fast every evening producing an interesting spectacle, hence the name “evening primrose.”

Biennial, it is appropriate for beds and borders, wildflower, cottage gardens and herb gardens.

Other Characteristics

Pollinators: Birds

Sun/Shade: Full Sun

Other: Edible

Planting and Care Considerations

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Grows well in gravelly or sandy soils. May spread in the landscape by self-seeding in a somewhat weedy fashion.

Transplanting an evening primrose plant will probably not succeed, so you are better off planting them from seed.

Consider harmonizing colors and bloom forms of daylilies and heleniums.

Spread: 60 to 90 cm

Water: Low, Average.

Best Soil: well-drained soil and can tolerate high pH levels.

Growth Habit: 

More Information

The oil from the seed is added to skin preparations and cosmetics. It is often combined with vitamin E to prevent oxidation. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A finely ground powder made from the flowering stems is used cosmetically in face-masks to counteract reddened skins.

Both First Nations and settlers used evening-primrose for several medicinal purposes. They treated wounds and bruises with a poultice of leaves, while a tea or infusion of the plant was drunk to soothe coughs and digestive complaints.