Evening Primrose (Orneothera Missouriensis) – Garden Magic for Children

evening primrose - oenothera missouriensis

Enjoy an Evening of Wonder – The Evening Primrose

evening primrose - oenothera missouriensis


Oenothera or Evening Primroses are easy to grow perennials for summer rock gardens, borders, along cement curbing, and wildflower gardens.   Oenothera’s funnel-shaped, four-inch wide flowers are spectacular.  Last summer my good gardening friend Merrilee stopped her old truck with a screech in my driveway. She jumped out of her truck waving her phone around and told me I had to watch this for there is no way I would believe what she had just filmed.  Curious, I joined her to look at her phone and as we watched her Evening Primrose start to open its delectable petals. We were mesmerized as the amazing Oenothera’s iridescent-yellow crepe-paper petals gradually widened revealing its stamen. The experience was like watching a slow motion flower opening on the discovery channel but we were experiencing it in real time. Incomparable things like this only happen in the garden.

This example, filmed in Toronto, Canada shows you something similar to what we saw:

Oenothera waits for the high sunlight of June before breaking dormancy and waits for afternoon before the show of opening of the petals starts.  By evening the enormous fragrant petals display an unexplainable phosphorescent light that attracts the night moths.  As morning lights, the captivating petals start to fold protectively around the fertilized prospective seeds  The seed pods form into curious winged miniature looking pepper plants that if left on the plant will drain Oenothera’s energy and blooming will stop. If they are removed, Oenothera will never stop blooming until fall.

evening primrose seed pods
Remove the seed pods to keep your Evening Primroses blooming all summer.

Oenothera’s seeds that fall will germinate and form a large fleshy tuber-like root that will need two years of development before blooming. Loose cultivated soil will produce a larger Evening Primroes tuber.

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