Oenothera Fruticosa [Ee-no-HEE-ruh, Froo-tih-KOH-suh] is a flowering plant species in the Onagraceae family.
It is a native perennial to eastern North America, mostly growing in different open habitats, including moist savannas, rocky outcrops, and dry woodlands.
The common names of this plant include:
- Evening Primrose Plant
- Wild Beet
- Narrow-Leaf Evening Primrose
- Common Evening Primrose
Evening Primrose Plant Care
Size & Growth
Oenothera is branching and spreading plant, which grows about 3’ to 5’ feet tall.
It quickly fills up a field or garden bed with its lance-shaped leaves growing on tall, purplish stems.
Each leaf is about 2” to 3” inches long.
Its stems grow between 8” to 24” inches tall and about 15” inches wide.
It has a reddish-purple, evergreen basal rosette.
Flowering and Fragrance
Evening Primroses produce clusters of showy, bright yellow flowers from reddish buds.
These fragrant flowers are usually 2” inches wide.
The bloom time of this plant is late spring.
They bloom in the daytime and are short-lived.
However, the plant blooms in succession throughout its blooming period.
These blossoms leave behind unique seed capsules.
Light & Temperature
Evening Primroses thrives in full sun and also tolerates light shade.
You must plant it in a spot receiving about six or more hours of direct sunlight every day.
These plants are cold tolerant in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9.
Watering and Feeding
The water needs of the Sundrop are low. It is drought tolerant and flowers better in dry soil.
Make sure to give plants regular irrigation when planting until it forms a healthy root system and then cut back on the watering.
This native plant has the ability to survive on rainwater alone.
Water the plant only when the soil gets too dry.
Over-watering will prove fatal for this plant, so make sure to avoid leaving it in standing water.
The Narrow-Leaf Evening Primrose plant is not a heavy feeder.
Give this plant a good start with an organic fertilizer every spring, and it will blossom more.
Fertilize more only if there is a nutrient deficiency in the soil.
Perform a soil test first to determine the missing nutrients and fertilize accordingly.
Soil & Transplanting
Evening Primrose plants prefer well-draining sandy soils.
It also thrives in clay, organic, and loam soil mixtures.
Be sure to keep the moisture level drier to medium.
The pH level of the soil should be neutral to slightly acidic.
You may add a small amount of additional organic matter in the soil mixture to aid the growth of this plant.
In case the soil gets wetter during the winter season, you may transplant the Sundrop plant under glass until the spring season.
Grooming and Maintenance
The Evening Primrose oenothera requires regular pruning.
Be sure to cut the plant back once the blooming period is over.
Deadhead the plant to avoid self-seeding and pinch back for bushier foliage.
When growing it as a bedding plant or in masses, keep each plant 20” inches apart.
It will continue rapidly growing in ideal conditions and might live for about ten years.
How to Propagate Oenothera Fruticosa
Propagate this plant using seeds or divisions/cuttings.
Collect the seeds by when the capsules become hard and open them with pruning shears.
Let the seeds dry and store them in a sealed container until they are ready to be planted.
Sow the seeds during the late spring or early fall season.
The germination process will take about one to three weeks.
When propagating with divisions of cuttings, be sure to take the cuttings from the tip of the plant during the late summer season.
Oenothera Fruticosa Pest or Diseases
This plant doesn’t experience any severe disease or pest issues.
Watch out for slugs and treat the plant immediately.
Usually, poor soil conditions might cause the spread of such diseases.
Make sure you provide this plant the right soil mixture.
Is This Plant Invasive?
It is a rapidly growing plant and fills up the surrounding space quickly.
It’s usually not aggressive, though, and is contained with regular pruning.
Evening Primrose Plant Uses
The Evening Primrose is mostly used as a groundcover, borders, in cottage gardens, rock gardens, and wild gardens.
It works well with Oenothera Biennis L. and Oenothera Speciosa plants.
Since it is drought tolerant, it makes a great addition in the xeriscape landscape and low-water garden.
The attractive seed pods left behind by the flowers add to the ornamental feel of the garden.
This plant attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds, native bees, and butterflies.
Oenothera contains oils, fatty acids, linoleic acid, and gamma linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid in the dietary supplement omega-6 family.
It is used to create evening primrose oil, which is sold for its various health benefits, like improving the skin, decreasing blood pressure, treating rheumatoid arthritis, and enhancing heart health.