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Oenothera biennis

Evening primrose

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Key information

Plant type


Flower colour






Skill level


photo by Fiona Lea, copyright GAP Photos (128649)

Plant details

There are many desirable perennial evening primroses, raised one year to start flowering from the following season, but far fewer biennials. This one, the common evening primrose that grows wild on waste ground, is a wonderful border plant that is easily raised from seed. Plants first develop deep taproots and rosettes of winter-hardy leaves and then, in the second year, branching stems appear, up to 1.2m (4ft) or even more in fertile soil. These carry the familiar, very fragrant yellow flowers, 5cm (2in) across and opening in the evening.

Family: Onagraceae

Genus: Oenothera

Species: biennis

Plant type: Biennial

Flower colour: Yellow

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 120cm

Spread: 60cm

Time to plant seeds: June to October

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