Evening Primrose Plant

Evening primrose has many admirers because of its beautiful and delicate appearance, but even as many of us view this fiesty floral as an invasive and temperamental weed. Native to North America, the flower is best sown in early spring or late fall, will grow quickly and bloom each summer, beginning during its second year of life.

Evening primrose self-seeds, so it’s possible that, unless properly trained and cared for, it could easily take over your garden. Still, its sunny yellow flowers can lure many gardeners with their beauty. The plant is nocturnal, meaning its blooms open within the evening and shut throughout the day, attracting a special set of nighttime pollinators, like moths and a few bees.

yellow evening primrose
Botanical NameOenothera biennis
Common NameEvening primrose, common evening primrose, tree primrose, fever plant, cure-all, night willow-herb
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Mature Size3–5 ft. tall, 2–3 ft. wide
Sun ExposureFull sun, partial shade
Soil TypeMoist but well-drained
Soil pHNeutral to acidic
Bloom TimeSummer, early fall
Flower ColorYellow
Hardiness Zones4–9 (USDA)
Native AreaNorth America
ToxicityToxic to dogs and cats
closeup of evening primrose

Evening Primrose Care

If the invasive nature of the herb doesn’t deter you (not to say that you’ll be asleep while its beautiful blooms are out), then you’re in luck, because even the foremost novice gardeners can grow this herbaceous perennial. As long as you provide it many light and well-draining soil, the likelihood is that your herb plants are going to be quite happy.

Beyond being a gorgeous , vibrant addition to your garden or landscape, herb plants have a storied history within the medicinal community; a number of the common names for the plant, like cure-all or fever plant, allude to those holistic properties. it had been first discovered by Native Americans, who used the plant to treat wounds and skin ailments (such as sunburn or eczema), and afterward by Europeans who relied thereon for a spread of issues like asthma, pertussis , and more. lately , it’s most ordinarily seen as an herbal supplement or oil and used for skin disorders, also as pain issues associated with diseases like MS and atrophic arthritis . The flowers themselves also are edible both raw or cooked and are sometimes utilized in salads.


Contrary to what you’ll believe a few plants that only blooms in the dark (making it perfect for moon gardens), herb actually loves sunlight. It should be grown during a spot that gets full sunlight (or partial shade), and somewhere where the plant can soak in a minimum of six to eight hours of warm sunlight daily.


Another major requirement for growing herb successfully is soil that boasts good drainage. That being said, it should still retain moisture, just not become water-logged. Consider adding a thick layer of mulch atop the soil to assist keep the roots cool throughout the summer.


Evening primrose does best with adequate regular watering and can need a touch more water if grown in an especially hot climate during the summer. However, if you notice any discoloration or browning on the plant’s many leaves, that’s a sure sign that your herb is getting an excessive amount of water and is probably going affected by plant disease or a fungal disease.

Temperature and Humidity

While it blooms and grows best during the summer, the herb actually prefers to be cool instead of warm. The plant must get established (i.e. grow its roots and foliage) during the cooler early months of spring so as to flower well come summer. an excessive amount of heat early in its life can cause the plant to become leggy or resemble a weed in appearance.


Fertilizer isn’t a necessary addition to your herb care regimen—it will grow just fine without the extra nutrients. However, if you’re working with particularly bad soil, you’ll amend your mixture with some organic material.

Is herb Toxic?

Although it’s several ingestible uses for humans, the herb is taken into account mildly toxic to pets by some veterinarians. Though rarely poisonous enough to cause major issues, you ought to still be mindful of your pets around the plant. If you notice your dog or cat exhibiting any of the below symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Symptoms of Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Gastrointestinal inflamation

How to Grow herb From Seed

Evening primrose is usually grown from seed and, although you’ll buy the seeds online, you’ll even as easily collect seeds from wild plants growing along the roadside or publicly gardens. Once you get herb seeds, plant them either during autumn or early spring in a location that boasts full sun where the soil has been previously cultivated. Sow the seeds on top of the soil and water well. After germination, thin the seedlings in order that they’re approximately one foot apart.

In its first year of life, herb won’t flower but will simply produce a leafy rosette at ground level. Come year two, a tall, stiff flower stem shoots up out of this base. About midway up this flower stem, secondary branching occurs and therefore the leaves become progressively smaller the farther you go up the flower stem. The four-petaled blooms that begin emerging at the beginning of summer are about one inch wide. They’ll eventually die out and produce seeds, which are then spread throughout the landscape by various weather or eaten by wild birds.

Common Pests and Diseases

Varieties beetles eat the leaves of the herb, but they won’t do enough damage to kill the plant. Otherwise, you’ll expect to ascertain various other traditional garden pests periodically, including mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. If you notice signs of infection on your plants, treat them with insecticidal soap or oil like neem oil.

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