The common evening primrose causes a sensation in the garden with its beautiful flowers. We will reveal what you need to keep in mind when planting and caring for it and present different ways of using it.
In the evening, when dusk falls, the Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) lets its glow shine. Only then do the bright yellow flowers bloom and give the darkness a new shine. But don’t worry, the next morning you will see the splendor of the flowers in the light.
Common Evening Primrose: Origin and Properties
Even if the common evening-primrose seems to belong so completely to the native plant world, it is an immigrant. Only in the 17th century, the perennial was brought to Europe from North America as an ornamental plant. But it did not stick to borders and garden fences and conquered Europe outside the flower beds in no time at all.
Other representatives of the genus of the evening primrose (Oenothera) did the same or were created by crossing and soon numerous species of evening primrose enriched the European plant world.
The common evening primrose is by no means inconspicuous. Rising high, as it usually is, it reaches heights between 80 and 180 centimeters. And underground, things are no different, because its fleshy taproot can grow as deep as the plant is tall. In the first year, however, the biennial plant presents itself quite inconspicuously.
Its lanceolate long leaves are initially arranged rosette-shaped on the ground. It is not until the following year that the main shoot sprouts, at the tip of which a long inflorescence appears from June onwards. The bright yellow and sweet-scented flowers bloom gradually from bottom to top.
They attract numerous species of gushers (families of butterflies): Particularly worth seeing among them is the pigeon’s tail (Macroglossum stellatarum), which may look almost like a small hummingbird.
The Most Beautiful Common Evening-Primrose Species
The common evening primrose is basically only one among many. Together with about 200 other species, it belongs to the genus of the evening primrose. In Europe about 30 species are widespread. The Evening Primrose is probably the best known among them and is usually called the evening primrose par excellence. But there are some more interesting representatives of the genus of the evening primrose:
- Red-Cup Evening Primrose (Oenothera glazioviana): This species is widespread and can reach a height of up to 2 m. Its flowers are slightly larger than those of the other evening primroses. However, the main difference is the redbuds and the red dotted stem of the plant.
- Shrubby or red-stemmed evening primrose(Oenothera fruticosa / Oenothera tetragona): Although the flowers of this species of evening primrose shine in a typical evening primrose yellow, the growth of the shrubby evening primrose is not straight and upright, but branched. The flower stems reach heights of up to 70 cm.
- Pink Carpet Evening Primrose or White Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa): The appearance of the Pink Evening Primrose is completely different. Its growth is not upright, but padding. Its maximum size is therefore also reached 30 cm. The flowers go from whitish to pink. Unfortunately, this species has a pronounced urge to spread.
- Cushion Evening Primrose or Missouri Evening Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa): This species does not grow taller than 30 cm and is perfect for planting in rock gardens. There it forms a dense carpet of flowers with its large yellow flowers.
Planting common evening primrose
You can buy evening primrose either as young plants or in the form of seeds. Potted plants can be planted from spring until summer. The plants are hardy, but should not be exposed to freezing frost immediately, as they probably grew up in a greenhouse.
The perfect location for evening primrose
Although the evening primrose is incredibly diverse, all species found here somehow prefer the same thing. Outside of gardens and plantations, wild evening primroses can be found primarily where other plants have a hard time. They colonize gravel banks, railroad embankments, and fallow land as well as old quarries.
Because evening primroses love sandy and nutrient-poor soil, at best there is also some lime. And with all this, the sun should not be missing. But the plant can still cope with partial shade. However, the location must be dry and not damp in winter.
How to plant evening primrose correctly
You can put your evening primrose in a bucket as well as outdoors. If you plant several specimens, you should make sure to plant large species such as the common evening primrose at a sufficient planting distance of about 30 centimeters. This will keep the stand well aerated and mushrooms have no chance.
Since evening primroses have deep roots, you should definitely use a deep plant container when planting in a pot. The substrate in it should consist of a large extent of sand. For example, you can mix normal garden soil with 30 to 50 percent sand.
- Choose a deep planter.
- For substrate mix garden soil with at least 30 % sand.
- Observe planting distance in the field.
Care for evening primrose: This is to be noted
Evening primrose is extremely resistant. It is not for nothing that they have so quickly made the European wilderness their own. In any case, the undemanding plants do not need fertilizer. And you can largely save yourself the watering because even longer periods of drought do not bother the plant. Only the evening primrose is worth a try because a strong pruning in autumn or towards the end of winter stimulates an early flowering.
Evening primrose propagate: Tips for sowing and Co
Evening primrose produces an incredible number of very small seeds. So if you don’t want to find this reproductive plant suddenly all over your garden, don’t throw the cut flowers on the compost.
But sowing evening primrose is very easy. If you want the plant to grow as an annual, early sowing at the end of April or the beginning of May is recommended. Evening primroses sown in July or August, on the other hand, will not flower until next year.
When sowing you should keep in mind that evening primroses are light seeders. Therefore, do not cover the seeds or only cover them with very little soil. After about 12 to 16 days the first seedlings will show.
Once the plant is established and allowed to ripen, it will seed reliably and provide fresh offspring.
Propagation of evening primrose:
- Evening primroses produce numerous seeds
- Sowing in April/May or July/August
- light bucket
Are evening primroses poisonous?
Evening primrose is not poisonous at all. On the contrary: the most different parts of the common evening primrose can even be eaten as a vegetable. There are also numerous applications from naturopathy.
Use Of Evening Primrose
Evening primroses are not only eye-catching spots of color and beautiful components in your own perennial bed, they also attract numerous moths and bumblebees. For this reason, the evening primrose is an excellent pasture for butterflies.
However, the common evening primrose is not only a pleasure for the colorful insects. You too can perceive the plant with all your senses. The fleshy taproot, for example, can be harvested in autumn and prepared into delicious root vegetables. In spring, however, the fresh leaves are ideal for salads and spinach.
But not only that, because the oil from evening primrose seeds has a calming and anti-inflammatory effect on irritated skin. Dandruff, dry skin, and even neurodermatitis can be soothed. From the oil of the evening primrose excellent natural cosmetics can be produced.
The tea from dried leaves, on the other hand, can counteract stomach and digestive problems. Even possible mood swings, aggressiveness, and other signs that many women feel before their menstruation, the preparations of the evening primrose are said to counteract.