(ee-no-theer' ah)

Common name: Evening Primrose, Sundrop

Family: Onagraceae, Evening Primrose

Height x width: 6-24" x 12-18" depending on species

Growth rate, habit: moderate to fast; spreading

Foliage: alternate, lanceolate 2-4" long, softly hairy

Flowers: white to pink or yellow, 1"-4" wide, some with scent, in upper leaf axils; early to mid summer; some species flower at night (nocturnal) opening in the evening (vespertine), others only flower in day (diurnal) closing at night

Hardiness: zones 3-7 or 8

Soil: well-drained, tolerates and spreads less in dry, infertile soils

Light: sun

Pests and Problems: root rot in wet soils, botrytis blight of flowers in wet weather

Landscape habit, uses: raised beds or rock gardens, slopes, poor soil sites, meadows, small masses in borders where tends to be aggressive

Other interest: genus name is Greek for wine tasting, refering to supposed use of roots of some species as food with after-dinner wines; native to U.S.

Other culture: see notes under landscape uses and soils; speciosa tolerates heat and humidity of South being native to that region; cut back species unattractive after flowering for rosette development

Propagation: seed, division, stem or root cuttings which root readily


Of the main species seen in commerce, summarized in the table below, the following couple are the most commonly seen with their cultivars.

fruticosa (fruu-ti-co' sah)--Common Sundrops, club-shaped seed capsule

macrocarpa (ma-crow-car' pah)(missouriensis)--Ozark Sundrops or Missouri Evening Primrose (from native region); solitary, papery, lemon yellow funnel shaped flowers

speciosa (spee-cee-o' sah)--Showy Evening Primrose (although diurnal flowering), native to south central U.S., some cultivars scented
 Species zones height flowers bloom other
berlandieri:speciosa 'Rosea'          
biennis 4-8 4-8' yellow nocturnal variable, biennial, reseeds
caespitosa 4-7 4-8" white, pink nocturnal fragrant, native to western U.S.
fruticosa 4-8 18-24" yellow diurnal many of better cultivars
drummondii 6-9 4-18" pale yellow diurnal native to sandy seashore beaches
glazioviana 3-8 3-4' yellow, reddish nocturnal buds twirl open
macrocarpa 5-8 18-24" yellow nocturnal  
perennis 3-8 12-24" yellow diurnal nodding flowers
speciosa 5-8 12-24" white, rose diurnal spreads rapidly, better in West
tetragona:fruticosa ssp. glauca          


Cultivar species flowers other
'Alba' speciosa white vigorous
'Crown of Gold' yellow variegated leaves
'Fireworks' fruticosa yellow 18", 2-3" flowers, red stems
subsp. glauca fruticosa yellow broad, gray, smooth leaves, syn. tetragona
'Highlights' fruticosa yellow 12", 2" flowers
'Hohes Licht':'Highlights'      
'Pink Petticoats' speciosa pink vigorous, scented
'Rosea' speciosa rose prostrate 6-12" tall
'Siskiyou' speciosa pink 2" wide, saucer-shaped flowers, 8" tall
'Sonnenwende':'Summer Solstice'      
'Summer Solstice' fruticosa yellow 18-24" tall, subsp. glauca, red fall foliage
'Woodside White' speciosa white, red eye 15" tall
'Yellow River' fruticosa canary yellow 18", 2-3" flowers, brick red stems
'Youngii' fruticosa bright yellow 18", 2-3" flowers
'Youngii-lapsley' fruticosa yellow 20" tall

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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