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PlantFiles: Common Evening Primrose, Night Willow-herb, Hoary Evening Primrose
Oenothera biennis

Family: Onagraceae (on-uh-GRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Oenothera (ee-no-THEE-ruh) (Info)
Species: biennis (by-EN-iss) (Info)

Synonym:Brunyera biennis
Synonym:Oenothera muricata
Synonym:Oenothera suaveolens
Synonym:Onagra muricata

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

49 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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6 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Feb 6, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I know of this native plant as being a common wild plant of meadows and prairie in the Midwest and East USA and of the seashore of southern Delaware. It is often used in native prairie restorations. Good for pollinators. It is one of the American native forbs that has survived the change from native meadow to the mostly European-west Asian meadow that has taken over much of eastern North America after settlement with such dominant plants as Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, Queen Anne's Lace, Sweet-clover, Red Clover, Chickory, Common Yarrow, Mullein, and some others. A few other natives that have survived the change along with Common Evening-Primrose are: Goldenrods, Dogbanes, Common Milkweed, Fleabanes, Asters, and Pokeweed.

Positive WindheartCogs On Jul 9, 2012, WindheartCogs from Siler City, NC wrote:

This is a wonderful plant. Mine came out out a pack of wildflower seeds. It was hardly noticeable the first year, just a small rosette of leaves with a big white vein down the middle. The second year they got taller, and taller, and taller. Luckily they were at the back of my garden, or they would have obscured the whole thing. My only complaint would be that they did get VERY large, and eventually squished the California poppies under them. But by that time, the poppies were out of their prime, and the flowers were well worth it. Bright yellow, fabulously fragrant, numerous, and night blooming, they were just what I was looking for. And they bloom for months. I got to see some pretty neat moths feeding on them too. I had some Japanese beetles snacking on them, but they didn't manage to phase the plants at all. I do see how these could manage to be invasive, so I would be wary of that. But they need no care, and offer wonderful flowers, so are worth the risk in a closely watched garden. Plus, unwanted seedlings pop right out of damp soil.

Positive DrJill On Jun 19, 2012, DrJill from East Washington, PA wrote:

Lovely, but verrrrrry tall plant. I put it at the base of my 6 foot chain link deer fence and it is almost that tall. It is contained between walkways [I suspect it could be invasive] but I am not having problems with it. The deer do not seem to like it - so I planted it at the edge of my garden. I enjoy having medicinal plants in my garden.

Positive fairygothmom On Mar 31, 2011, fairygothmom from Glen Cove, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This sprung up in the lid of a covered-over well in my backyard. It was lovely with no care. I collected lots of seeds to use in butterfly garden seed bombs for brownfields.

Neutral trioadastra On May 24, 2009, trioadastra from Ellsworth, WI (Zone 4a) wrote:

I grew this plant as part of a wildflower mixture. It kept getting taller and taller, and looking more like a weed. Finally, at about 5 ft tall, it began to bloom. The flowers themselves are nice, but the size of the plant overwhelms them and leaves much to be desired. Mine did not reseed, and I don't consider it much of a loss.

Neutral JodyC On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Moths pollinate the flowers, particularly Sphinx moths. Other occasional visitors include the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, honeybees, bumblebees, and Anthedonia compta (Primrose Miner Bee), the latter being an oligolege. These insects seek nectar, although some of the bees collect pollen. The caterpillars of several moths feed on the foliage. This includes Endryas unio (Pearly Wood Nymph), Desmia funeralis (Grape Leaffolder Moth), Hyles lineata (White-Lined Sphinx), and Mompha eloisella (Momphid Moth; bores through stems). Various beetles feed on the foliage, including Popillia japonica (Japanese Beetle), Grahops pubescens (Leaf Beetle sp.), Altica fusconenea (Flea Beetle sp.), and several Curculio beetles. The seeds are eaten by goldfinches.

Neutral nevrest On Sep 21, 2004, nevrest from Broadview, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

Grows here in Zone 3. Self-seeds abundantly here in Zone 3. I have a garden filled with them started from one single plant. I would rate it as quite invasive.

Positive txbabycat On Sep 20, 2004, txbabycat from Flower Mound, TX wrote:

I purchased a pack of mixed wild flowers and some of these came up last year. During the winter here in Texas, which is mild, but it does get cold, the green leaves part of the plant stayed alive all winter long being low to the ground. WIth the onset of spring this year they shot up to about 3-4 feet tall and produced a lot of flowers all summer. They were under a shade tree and received partial shade and some sun. You do have to watch for the aphids, they seem to love this plant. You can contol them with a soapy water mixture sprayed on the plant.

Positive WillowWasp On Sep 3, 2004, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant grows in the Dunes at the beach. It seems to do very well there and is doing a part in keeping the sand from blowing where it's pretty thick. It dosen't seem to be effected by the salt water or spray. Some of it is pretty close to the surf and it has been growing there for quite some time and it is flowering and sending out more runners..

Neutral cherishlife On Aug 16, 2004, cherishlife from Pocola, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Evening primrose is a biennial plant with numerous, crinkled, lance-shaped leaves and green stems with red splotches. The flowers on this plant were found blooming on a cloudy day, but commonly only bloom early morning or evening. Flowers are bright yellow, fragrant with four broad petals. This plant was found growing alongside a country road and stands about 7 feet tall. Flowers are produced all along the stalk and bloom is continuous from June through autumn.

Evening primrose was used by the North American Indians for a variety of medical problems. This plant is grown commercially for its seed oil which is rich in GLA (gamma linoleic acid) fatty acids; cis-linoleic (70%), cis-gammalinolenic acid (9%).

Above ground parts are thought to have astringent properties, used to treat whooping cough, digestive problems, asthma etc; oil has been applied externally to treat itchy skin conditions, internally to lower blood pressure, prevent clumping of the platelets, premenstrual problems. Dangerous to take if suffering from epilepsy.

Most of my information was taken from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculter and Food


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Blytheville, Arkansas
Morrilton, Arkansas
Amesti, California
Berkeley, California
Crescent City, California
Merced, California
Trenton, Florida
Demorest, Georgia
Lewiston, Idaho
Champaign, Illinois
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Albion, Indiana
South Whitley, Indiana
Des Moines, Iowa
Prospect, Kentucky
Lisbon, Maine
Columbia, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Millersville, Maryland
Oakland, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Amesbury, Massachusetts
Billerica, Massachusetts
Millbury, Massachusetts
Southborough, Massachusetts
Belleville, Michigan
Erie, Michigan
Owosso, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Saint Helen, Michigan
Tawas City, Michigan
Isle, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cole Camp, Missouri
Lanagan, Missouri
New Milford, New Jersey
Glen Cove, New York
Patchogue, New York
Schenectady, New York
Seaford, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
Siler City, North Carolina
Glouster, Ohio
Hamilton, Ohio
Pleasantville, Ohio
Pocola, Oklahoma
Newberg, Oregon
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Washington, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
, Saskatchewan
Mc Minnville, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Kaufman, Texas
Blacksburg, Virginia
Ellsworth, Wisconsin

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