Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Oenothera speciosa:
Evening Primrose

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Form: A colony-forming herb or subshrub.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but cold and drought deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 1-2' high.
Flowers: White to pink, 2" wide, fragrant.
Bloom: Spring into fall, depending on rainfall. In southern regions, they open in the morning for one day, then crumple up the next morning so others can take their place. In the northern part of their range, they open in the evening and bloom for one night.
Fruit: A winged, cylindrical seed capsule, about 1/2" long, with tiny seeds.
Leaves: Green, variably lance-shaped to elliptical, with edges possibly wavy, partly toothed, or smooth, edible. Red pigmentation appears in cold weather.
Stems: No thorns. Erect or reclining.
Roots: Spreads by rhizomes and a few stolons. This plant spreads aggressively and should be grown in a confined space.
Wildlife: The flowers attract bees and insects, the seed capsules attract birds.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: United States and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 5-9.
Heat tolerant: It goes dormant in very hot or dry weather, then revives with summer rains.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade. Part shade means fewer blooms.
Water once established: Once or twice a month in the hottest months of the year.
Soil: Well drained, pH 5.6-8.5 (acidic to alkaline).
Prune: In the fall, shear or mow these plants to the ground.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed, rootball division, cuttings. This plant freely reseeds on its own.
Uses: Ornamental, ground cover. The leaves, when harvested before flowering starts, can be used raw in salads or cooked like spinach.

This plant is a member of the Evening Primrose family (Onagraceae). Other common names are Mexican, Pink, White and Showy Evening Primrose.

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Oenothera speciosa: Evening Primrose - flowers

Oenothera speciosa: Evening Primrose

Latest update: January, 2019
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