Grow Evening Primrose for Late Day Beauty

Have you thought about growing a nocturnal plant for a change? Yes! This little flower opens its petals at sunset and doesn’t fold them until sunrise!


How unusual is it to have a plant in your garden that has a nightlife? If you have nightlights on your grounds, then perhaps it would make quite a different type of display by having a  little splash of color that wakes up at night to be on the show.

North American

Though small, these flowers are easy to grow and ask for very little regarding effort on your behalf. They originated in North America but seemed to grow almost anywhere. They have been known to grow quite tall but generally average at about 3 feet high.

To Grow

You may find it strange to know that although this flower only blossoms at night, to grow, it demands full sunlight or will tolerate partial shade and good drainage.

They grow from seed, and you can find the packets of seeds just about anywhere.

Be Patient

Plant the seeds from the packet in either Fall or early Spring. Find the right place for them to grow, which will be in full sun if possible, and good drainage. First, sow the seeds on top of the soil you’ve prepared and, after germination has taken place, thin out the seedlings so that they are about one foot apart from each other.

Don’t expect your plant to flower during the first year. However, it will produce a leafy type of rosette close to the ground. The leaves of this rosette are about 4-8 inches in length and shaped like a lance. There’s a white vein that runs down the center of each.


During the second year will show that your plants have gained height and a stiff-looking purple-tinged flower stem will have been produced. About halfway up this flower stem, secondary branching  – an offshoot – will happen. The leaves will become smaller and smaller the further up the stem they are.

You’ll notice that four-petaled blooms begin to emerge at the start of summer, and they’re about one inch wide.  You won’t see it, but night-flying insects pollinate them.

Huge Family

Its botanical name is Oenothera, and I won’t list them here because there are 145 species with many different colors and shapes and tiny details that differ. Some have different colored stamens, making them look quite pretty compared to some of their more plain cousins.

Most people assume this plant is yellow. It has many colors – blue, pink, lavender, purple, and when you couple that together with the above, no wonder there is 145 versions of this particular plant!

The Evening Primrose doesn’t resemble the actual Primrose plant – which is yellow – and isn’t a family member.

Is the Evening Primrose Invasive?

Some can be; it depends entirely on the genus you choose and the growing conditions you give it.

It is mostly said that the roots need to be divided each year because they expand quickly. It could also be a good idea to cut back the plant after flowering to prevent them from producing and reproducing into quantities you may not want. However, if that does happen, it’s easy to reduce or remove – which you find best.

Container Grown?

The Evening Primrose can and will grow almost anywhere as long as it has the right conditions so that containers will be acceptable – just give it enough root space, light, water, drainage –  and a good potting soil mix. This plant should grow happily in a container.

Indeed, if you plan to grow this in a container, you should wait for the end of the year of its first flowering and then dig it up and divide the roots.

Once it gets underway, however, it is self-seeding and will spread very quickly. If this happens, then a simple answer would be to wait until the end of the flowering and then do the deadheading so that it doesn’t replicate quite so quickly.

Attracts Insects?

Yes. Insects, moths, and bees provide pollination. Having said that, remember that these flowers are relatively small, and the shaping of their petals would prevent a whole host of would-be pollinators.

Evening Primrose plants open their petals in the evening and are therefore used by evening pollinators – such as moths.

Pruning Needed?

Pruning isn’t necessary for the sake of the health of the plant. Perennial versions may need to be cut back after blooming to prevent them from self-seeding, but that’s up to you.

Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil?

This is a fascinating topic as Evening Primrose Oil is readily available and widely used as a supplement.

Among its many health-based claims are, it’s beneficial in some cancer treatments, resolving skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. It is also claimed to control inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and relief gastrointestinal disorders; these include irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcers, and there are so many more. However, I can only tell you what has been previously reported.


It has a long taproot, which is said to be edible if you dig it up at the end of the plant’s first year of growth and boil it twice. It is said that the flowers are edible, raw or cooked, and can be used in salads. However,  I don’t know the validity of these claims. As is the case with all these things, what’s OK for some people, can be problematic for others.


Because they’re not as big and showy as some flowers, people don’t necessarily go out of their way to put these in their gardens. On the other hand, they are different, making for a good conversation piece and having their own charms.

The Evening Primrose is not the sort of plant that would give you a big flowery display, but it does well for cottage gardens, and for moon gardens, it’s a must.

Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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