PLEASE! Help me get rid of Oenothera 'rosea'

conace55(z5 CO)March 26, 2007

High Country Gardens said that it "spreads rapidly on shallow roots" but didn't say it would overrun anything in its path! I hate this plant and want to be rid of this, my personal thug. I've dug and pulled and am afraid that any root or piece will again produce and "spread rapidly". Has anyone else had the ill-fortune to have to deal with this? I don't want to, but will I be forced to use chemicals? If so, I don't want to waste time digging and pulling anymore. Your thoughts and experience are requested! Thanks, Connie

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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

My sympathy, Connie! Not only does it "spread rapidly," it spreads far and wide! There was some in here when I bought this house 3 years ago, They were small plants, and it was so pretty I left it in the first year! ERROR! They were "fenced in" by a 3' sidewalk, but by the next spring they were EVERYWHEREÂincluding on the other side of the sidewalk! I didnÂt get around to doing anything until they were already bloomingÂand then, well, you know, they were so pretty again! So I left them bloom, and by the time I got back to them, they were COMPLETELY covered with mildew! I had to be careful since they were in close to other "good" plants, but I went through and sprayed all I could get with Roundup, but I didnÂt really think it would get thru the mildew enough to workÂbut it did! In retrospect, I think maybe the mildew actually helpedÂit think it may have had the Oenothera weakened already. I couldnÂt really tell if they were dying or not since they looked so bad from the mildew, but after a month or so I went around and pulled them all outÂthey came out more easily than I expected, and I resolved that I would just keep spraying them when they came up again, but was surprised to find that VERY few of them came up anymore. Every now and then I still find one here or there, but if you get them when theyÂre still small, they pull out pretty well.

I think youÂre right about them coming back from root pieces, so I donÂt think youÂd ever be able to get rid of all of them just by pulling them out. I try to not use chemicals when I donÂt need them, but if I need them, I DO use them, and I think you probably will need to use something to get rid of them. If you want to use as little as possible, pull out as many as you can and wait to see what comes back up. But then wait until they get big enough to effectively spray since the spray needs to go thru the leaves to get down into the roots.

ALL the OenotheraÂs, by the way, are pretty much as "contagious" at the Mexican Evening Primroses are, so, when youÂre looking at pictures and thinking, oh, how pretty, remember this experience. I LOVE a lot of the evening primrose flowers, butÂnever again!

Good luck,

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 12:39AM
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singcharlene(Zone 5)

AKA Evening Primrose.

When I had my first garden ever in 1995 my neighbor's father was very into gardening and everytime he came to visit his daughter he was so sweet to always bring me cuttings.

One day he brought over a cute little pink flower in a teeny little pot. I planted it in the corner of my little rose garden in the front yard and before I knew it, it was EVERYWHERE! Soon it was in my neighbor's yard, my backyard, in my herb garden.

I lived in that house for seven years and never fully got rid of it, but I became obsessed with yanking it every time I saw a new shoot. Eventually, after a few years of yanking, it did thin out but was never completely gone.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 12:40AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

I also have some of the pink oenothera that I'm always trying to get rid of. But I wanted to add that I also have a yellow cousin called Missouri Evening Primrose, and it seems MUCH more well-behaved. It spreads a little, but not at all like the pink stuff. It's not on the naughty list (at least not yet!).

But I do have a few other thugs I'm working on eradicating, including Anthemis kelwayi and some variety I can't remember of Achillea. I have a little trouble with a Nepeta, too, but it's not too bad yet.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 12:10PM
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shudavies(Zone 6a, CO)

I remember planting one of these, and when I saw what it was doing the second year, I knew it had to go. But since it was only in one area, I was able to stay after it and get it all by hand weeding. Maybe having sandy soil helped too. But my experience is that it can be eradicated without chemicals.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 6:16PM
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conace55(z5 CO)

Thanks to you all. If misery loves company then thanks for being there. I think that I'll try to pull what I can (this has spread to an 8' x 8' patch, at least) and use roundup as a last resort. How long do I have to wait to plant something else after using roundup? And how would you deal with the pieces that have traveled to the lawn?

Aaarrrggghhh! lol Connie

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 11:35PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Connie,

If misery loves company, then at least youÂve got a LOT of company! Not only here, but when I used to sell these thing, you wouldnÂt believe how many we sold. IÂm surprised nobody ever sent a hit man after me! LOL I didnÂt realize how awful they are until I wound up with my own!

I was lucky! The ones of mine that spread to the other side of the sidewalk came up in the mulch where I was able to roundup them without hurting anythingÂand I got the ones over there before there were too many of them. Since you have them in grass, you might try Weed-B-Gone or some other similar "broadleaf weed in grass" weed killer. I donÂt see how you could ever manage to pull them out of grass and get all the roots.

You can plant anytime after using roundupÂas long as itÂs dried completely. But you need to leave the plants you sprayed in for a couple weeks for the roundup to work before you can pull them out, and IÂd be a little bit careful about digging around too much in the foliage you sprayed with bare handsÂeven after itÂs dried. The only way it works is when itÂs sprayed on foliage, and then it goes thru the foliage and down to the roots to kill them. So if youÂre going to pull them out before you use the roundup, be sure you leave enough foliage grow back before you spray that it will work. And be sure you donÂt get itÂand that the wind doesnÂt blow itÂonto any good plantsÂwhich usually die WAY easier than the ones you want to get rid of!

I feel your pain! LOL


    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 12:36AM
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Thank you for this warning! I actually planted some of the "mexican primroses" when I first moved into my house about 12 years ago. They spread a bit after the first year, but then there were less and less of them each year, until they were all gone. I obviously was lucky and failed to make them happy. I won't try them again, though, after reading this thread.

Good luck with your eradication project, Connie.


Here is a link that might be useful: Other plants to avoid in Colorado

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 4:12PM
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conace55(z5 CO)

Thanks everyone, for the moral support and suggestions. Just a lesson learned. Do heavy research from people who've planted it before you plant. The catalogs can be very misleading.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 7:08PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Yes, Connie, catalogs can be VERY misleading! TheyÂll NEVER tell you something is invasive, because they wouldnÂt sell any of it if they didÂand the invasive plants are usually the easiest, and cheapest for them to propagate, so they make a LOT of money on them. IÂm often amazed when IÂm looking at catalogs and see the descriptions of some of the things that can take over the world!

If youÂre thinking of getting something youÂre not familiar with, and itÂs described in any way as spreading, check in here first to get a reality check!

Oakiris, I think you really lucked out with yours! I think I must have had something working in my favor too since I was able to get rid of most of it with just the one spraying. I really do think the heavy mildew had "wounded" it before I got around to spraying it.

Let us know later this summer if youÂve been able to get rid of it, Connie,

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 8:04PM
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lnmca(zone 5)

I have this in my grass too and have been pulling it up. It came under the fence from the neigbors' yard. GREAT! I don't want to spray the grass. I guess I'll just try to be vigilant.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 10:43AM
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Thanks so much for posting this! My sister gave me a bunch of seeds when they moved, and I couple of the packs were Mexican Evening Primrose and Missouri Evening Primrose. I saw some reviews on DavesGarden that they can be invasive, but I didn't know if they were invasive in this area. Sounds like the Missouri EP are a little less aggressive, so maybe I'll still plant a few of those and see how they do. Good luck with getting rid of yours!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 11:38AM
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i sprayed mine with eraser but none of them died. i finally pulled them up and know that I will have to dig them up, but will try spraying again. what a horror.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:55AM
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and low and behold my primroses are back. I am told that Eraser is the same as roundup. All i can do is dig them up and then spray them on a hot day.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 1:18PM
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conace55(z5 CO)

I realize that I never followed up with this. I was able to finally get rid of it. I sprayed and that really did nothing. I moistened the soil and tried pulling them. That was back breaking, tedious, and didn't do the job. Finally, I used a "hula hoe" weekly and that did it. Good luck!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 3:17PM
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Okay, I started with 3 little evening prim rose plants last year and before my eyes this spring it took over the bed it was in. I have been able to contain it to the bed but it got so tall it just about covered up my new weeping cherry. I am digging up the evil plants now and will start to spray Roundup every time I see an ugly little head pop up. Do I need to be concerned about the roots of the cherry? Also, there were 3 ornamental grasses that the horrible plants have wound around. How can I eliminate the prim rose if it's in amongst the grasses. We bought this house in MD after it had be neglected for several years and after 2 years I finally had the front yard looking great until this. Please HELP!!! I HATE this plant.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 2:54PM
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I live in Yolo County, CA (Zone 9, Sunset Western Garden Book). In October 2012 I declared all-out war on primrose in a 0.1 ac flower bed. It is now March 2013 and every morning I flag newly emerged primrose plants (see photo). The same day I dig out each one out. It took a lot of work to get this far, and the war is far from over. I'll keep people posted. The worst is yet to come.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:00AM
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My problem is that the evening primrose is mixed in with plants that I want to save, so I have been weeding by hand and losing the battle. I received some beautiful pink yarrow from a friend who was dividing up some plants and there must have been evening primrose mixed in. I have been battling this plant for two years now and it has moved around to several different beds and is overtaking many plants now, including my yarrow. It grows around the bases of rose bushes, which are so thorny and thick, I have a hard time weeding them out. It pops up in the middle of my thyme and sneaks under the fence where it quietly bides its time. I would resort to RoundUp if there weren't other plants that I want to save, so I have been trying to hand weed them out. But THEY KEEP COMING BACK! It seems every year there is a garden thug that I'm fighting with--first black-eyed susan, then sweet autumn clematis, and now this pretty little pink flower. I know I've read that if you keep cutting a plant down to the ground it eventually gives up and dies out, but I don't know that it would work with this--plus they are everywhere! I'm feeling a little discouraged, since I weeded them all out last fall and I can see them popping back up throughout the beds already. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:19AM
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If you're not averse to chemicals I found a good tip for selectively applying Roundup: take one of those mustard squeeze bottles, fill with Roundup and drip the poison drop by drop exactly where you want it, no overspray. Label carefully, of course! I've got Mex Primrose I just dug out of one of my beds - if I see some more it's hoeing like crazy and Roundup if that doesn't work.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:40AM
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That's a great idea to use a mustard bottle. I try to avoid chemicals, but I'm ready to try just about anything to get rid of this plant.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 8:02AM
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