Growing evening primrose

PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)July 26, 2005

Hi, I've been doing some research on my evening primrose that I just got. I keep coming across the words 'invasive' and 'weed.' Apparently it spreads by reseeding and I'm not at all sure I'd mind that. Could you please tell me how best to grow it? I'm thinking of the south end of the house where it would get sun most of the day, does it take full midday sun? I think the label said sun/part shade. Thanks for any help.

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Heathen1(10a)

It will take full sun where you live... but keep it from any other plants.... it reseeds itself into pots, into other gardens... you will never be rid of it. I thought the same, many years ago... but I am thoroughly sick of removing it from all sorts of places.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 8:58PM
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PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)

Thanks, that's why I came here, I thought if anyone would know they'd likely be here.

Do you know of any way to keep it confined? If I put it in a pot I'm thinking the seeds will just go outside the pot. What if I put it in a raised bed, dead center? Is it possible to keep it deadheaded enough to prevent seeding? Hmmmmmmmmmm..... Maybe I'll plant it to compete w/the neighbors Artemisia limelight that's just on the other side of the fence. Nah, paybacks aren't fun and they have a way coming back to bite.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 11:10PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Here's what I have on it:

Very easily cultivated by seed or division. Seeds need light to germinate and will grow if scattered on the surface of disturbed soil. Ideal germinating temperature is 20C, and they should germinate within about 2-4 weeks. Will grow in almost any well-drained soil. Drought-tolerant. Prefers sun. Leaves may discolour when grown in shade. Too much fertiliser may result in a deformed plant. May become invasive in some areas if it self-seeds.

The only way to prevent it from becoming a weed, is to remove the flowers before they have time to produce seeds. Which rather takes away the pleasure of growing such pretty things, doesn't it? But you have been warned - it really is an absolute garden THUG once it takes hold.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 12:00AM
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PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)

Wow. Well, it's a pretty thug at least. It's already flowering and that was what got it home with me. I may regret planting it, but if it gets too bad I guess I can move. ???????? Thanks! And yes, I have been warned. I guess that means you don't want to hear me whine when I'm sick of it? :D

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 1:49AM
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herbalbetty

And evening primrose gets HUGE! One of mine (which seeded itself about 60 feet from the original) is 6 feet high and at least that wide. But, eat the flowers to keep it from reseeding and you've gained health benefits as well.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 8:09AM
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PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)

I can see the headline now: Crazy woman eats flowers as strange plant devours city

60 feet? 6 feet tall? It doesn't say, "Feed me, Seymour!" does it? LOL

Well I had the idea it didn't get that big, missed that part somewhere. Thanks for the head's up at least I'll know what's taking over out there. And moving is always a possibility. :D

I think I'll go sample a flower, I might have to eat a lot of this stuff.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 11:08AM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Whole plant can be harvested at any time for culinary purposes. The flowers are the preferred parts for medicinal purposes, but all parts are useful. Best time to collect plants for medicinal use is when the plant is in flower in autumn. The essential oil is readily available in commercial products.

Culinary Uses: Whole plant is edible as a vegetable. Add flowers to salads, or use them as a garnish. Use leaves in salads. Seeds can be chewed, or cooked in breads and biscuits, or steamed, or roasted in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180C and sprinkled on food like pepper. Leaves and roots can be eaten fresh. The roots are sometimes eaten like olives as an after-dinner treat, or boiled like potatoes.

For medicinal purposes, it is usually the essential oil obtained from the seeds which is used.

Warning: Expert supervision is recommended when using the essential oil for medicinal purposes. Do not use this herb if suffering from epilepsy.

And yes, it usually gets to about 2 metres tall. Which means it can throw its seeds considerably further afield than a shorter plant!

Veal with Evening Primrose
8 thin veal cutlets, fat removed (chicken or pork will do)
flour
2 tablespoons butter
16 very small evening primrose plants, including roots
pinch salt
1/2 cup Madeira wine
1/2 cup water
lemon slices to garnish

Coat the veal in flour, shake off excess flour. Melt the butter in a frypan until it begins to foam, immediately add the veal and brown quickly on both sides. Add evening primrose to the pan with the salt, Madeira, water. Simmer slowly, covered, for 10 minutes until the evening primrose is tender and the sauce reduced. Serve with pan juices poured over and garnished with lemon slices.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 6:04PM
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CA Kate

There are several kinds of Oenothera, which are we talking about here?

I have Oenothera speciosa (aka Mexican Evening Primrose), which is white to pink in blossom, is extremely invasive, and, both reseeds itself and has rhizome runners. It is only 8-12" tall and rather gangly. I would not recommend that anyone let this get started in any garden.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 6:44PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

I think we are mainly talking about Oenothera biennis. Certainly, I am, because that's the one recommended for medicinal and culinary purposes.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 9:07PM
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PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)

I have Oenothera berlandieri, which I found also as Mexican evening primrose, according to the label with the plant. I couldn't find the stick that came in the pot so didn't have the name, now I found it. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 9:15PM
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herbalbetty

Purple Rainbow, that's hilarious!! We used to make up "headlines" all the time for silly stuff. Yeah, the evening primrose is fighting with the mullein for height. And as I was over in the perennial border thinking, "My goodness, the evening primrose has seeded itself here, here and here", I followed the stems back and realized it was just one mother plant! Like a botanical octopus. Cue Jaws music...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 8:10AM
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PurpleRainbow(z8 NW WA)

I've found other people in my zone who say the only way their Oenothera berlandieri is invasive is by rhizome and suggested containing it with a bottomless bucket. Maybe I have a less aggressive variety?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 1:26PM
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kay50(z5 PA)

Ok, I've read all of your comments with apprehension, after purchasing 8 plants. My question is: does it need some kind of support since it is tall? I do have a bank area that it could go wild in, literally, but am wondering if it will need support.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 2:58PM
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garden4510(z7 north GA)

Oenothera biennis is the really tall one. It has yellow flowers that are pretty in and of themselves, but the percentage of huge green plant with lots of spent flowers and only two or three fresh blooms a day make it of little ornamental value. It does seed easily. Oenothera speciosa, Mexican Primrose, or Pink Ladies, is extremely beautiful but takes over underground, and when I decided it didn't work in one bed it took about three years to eradicate all the roots, pulling and spraying Glyphosate. The well-behaved beauty of the family, which I have killed because my soil here is so heavy and clay, is Oenothera missouriensis, the Ozark Sundrop. I have never known or heard that it is invasive. It deserves a place in your perennial bed if you can grow it.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 11:07PM
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toejoe

I hate evening primrose & rue the day i planted it

it's even taking over my newly planted grass & i'm super bummed, just can't figure out how to get rid of it

any suggestions?

maybe i'll start a separate threat re: how to get rid of primrose

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 8:15PM
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cprosi

I need HELP. I have been fighting this plant for several years and have had to remove my jasmine border, now my lawn has been invaded, and as much as I've sprayed the Round-Up on emerging little plants in the neighbor's yard, it has appeared this week alive and well. What is a final solution for this beast? I'm afraid I'm going to end up with the expense of replacing my whole yard as well as hers.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 11:41PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Primrose here will die in direct sun. I wasted money on these plants, and even though they looked pretty, they didn't last a single summer month outside.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:19PM
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novice_2009(zone 6b)

Glad I found this post. I have a packet of seeds for evening primrose, for medicinal purposes, and aren't they pretty? Now I know to be careful, as though I'm inclined to use them for herbalism, don't want it to take over! Will be very careful. I thought they liked direct sun, dryish soils? Never use any chemicals to kill plants, organic garderner. daisyduckworth and herbalbetty, you rock! If we use the seeds, will it still be a garden thug? Or will that reduce the spreading invasive habit?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 10:31PM
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15leveillek1_renaissance_edu_hk

How long does an evening primrose take to grow fully? I need to know for a science project.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 3:59AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I assume you mean Oenothera biennis, common evening primrose? If so, it is a biennial which means it completes it lifecycle in 2 growing seasons.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia - Oenothera biennis

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 6:01PM
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Inyoursisterspanties_jootube_com

If properly trained and well-maintained, mexican evening primrose makes a nice tough durable ground cover.

There's a simple remedy to cut down the invasiveness of this plant-- Around the plant, dig all the plants and grass out at LEAST a foot and a half from the primroses, and place a thick layer of mulch over the bare soil.

Keep this mulch moist, but avoid watering the primroses too much, this species prefers dry, well-drained soil, so excessive moisture AROUND the plant will help contain it.

any seeds that sprout in the mulch will damp-off (die), due to the overtly wet condition of the barrier.

Some basic pruning skills are required for maximum enjoyment.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 8:46PM
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woodswalker88(6)

I found this thread after searching "evening primrose'. I had this mystery plant in my garden with yellow flowers, when I uploaded a pic someone identified the plant as evening primrose. Can't imagine where it came from unless it was in the wildflower mix I planted in spring of 2011.
It's really a nice looking plant that fills up the gaps where I had planted canna & dahlia last year ( what did I know...they were annuals. I'm a newbie.)

From what you guys are saying, I should just 'get rid of them'? Do they take over a garden space, or reseed somewhere else by wind? If I pull them out in the fall/winter, will more of them come back?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:54PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I've never had it take over any place. I find it quite controllable. If it dropped seed, you may get more volunteers.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 8:00AM
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saphyre

We have evening primrose growing wild all around the area (Etowah, NC) (in full sun) especially along the roadsides. however i haven't noticed it growing anywhere else like it does here. maybe a young indian squaw planted some and she couldn't get rid of it either. as long as it is kept cut down and mowed (like in lawns)it eventually dies away. we tend to have the same problem with blackberry brambles and that is how hubby and i rid ourselves of them

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 4:26PM
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vieja_gw(z7NM)

My Mexican primrose (pink flowers, red kinda 'wirey' stems) IS invasive if left alone... I carefully keep just a small patch of it contained but I do like it! The Missouri primrose though has pretty yellow flowers & is NOT invasive & I have it with asclepsia tuberosa (butterfly weed)& verbena 'Homestead purple' for a pretty corner cluster.
So carefully choose your variety of primroses ... some are just fine & others ... contain them & keep a watchful eye on them!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:13PM
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Canna_Getanamen(7)

Is there another weedy plant that looks just like Oenothera biennis, once its blooms are spent? After the power company cut a swath of destruction at the back of our property, weeds and vines if all kinds quickly filled the void. Poison ivy and ticks kept me away from the area for months, and as it is below a hedge of Rose of Sharon, we couldn't see what was happening. Recently I found many huge plants that are structured exactly like Oenothera biennis; although I never saw them in flower, I was sure that's what they were. Now about three weeks later, I am seeing alarmingly great clouds of chaff arising from that area. I discovered it all floats up from these plants, which are exploding with fluff. None of you have mentioned chaff, so I must have misidentified it. Any ideas what mine could be?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 10:35AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Evening primrose doesn't produce seed with pappus that I'm aware of. Pappus is the fluffy, parachute like stuff on dandelions and other wind-blown seed. I would suggest that it is something else. Look next season for it to come up or all the scattered seed to come up for identification.

Of course, a picture or two now may let us to perhaps ID what you have.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Canna_Getanamen(7)

Today I found a few spent blossoms on one of the plants. Turns out it's blue lettuce. I found it before it bloomed, then missed the whole bloom time, so I didn't realize the blossoms would be/were blue instead of yellow. I'm sad I missed it; it must have been really pretty.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 1:07AM
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Canna_Getanamen(7)

Today I found a few spent blossoms on one of the plants. Turns out it's blue lettuce. I found it before it bloomed, then missed the whole bloom time, so I didn't realize the blossoms would be/were blue instead of yellow. I'm sad I missed it; it must have been really pretty.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 1:08AM
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blakrab

Is this Yellow Evening Primrose, or something else?

Here is a link that might be useful: Evening Primrose?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:15PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

This isn't very helpful, but last year when asking about my (pink) low invasive primrose, I remember someone misunderstanding and replying about her yellow Texas primrose. So maybe it is. Google texas yellow evening primeose and see if u get any results.

Also, since this post is so old and long, many may not read thru to get to ur post. Try posting in Name that Plant (or is it Plant ID?) forum.

Bonnie

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:57PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

Just for what it's worth, American species of bats find use of this plant in their lives, so to those of you who would like to see a return of an voracious, insect-eating, helpful member of the mammal species that does humans good, grow (and contain, if you;'re that scared) some evening primrose, and add a bat-house to your property....

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:09PM
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