What Is Evening Primrose?
The name “evening primrose” comes from the fact that it blooms at night time. There are several species of evening primroses. They belong to the family Rosaceae which includes roses, lilies, hydrangeas, and other flowering plants with petals or flowers that bloom during the day. The genus Primula is the most commonly used name for these plants.
Evening primrose (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is native to Europe and Asia, but it was introduced into North America in 1792. These plants were first cultivated in California around 1850.
They have been grown commercially since then and their popularity continues to grow today due to their attractive foliage coloration, ease of care, low maintenance requirements, and adaptability to many climates.
How To Care For Evening Primrose Plants?
Evening primrose plants are easy to grow. You do not need much space for them. They require little water and they tolerate high temperatures well. They prefer full sun and moderate humidity levels. The best way to keep your evening primroses healthy is to provide regular watering of the soil every two weeks throughout the growing season, although they will survive dry periods if given enough time. They should be watered at least once a month when the weather is cool, regardless of whether or not you think they need it.
Evening primroses make excellent houseplants and will bloom throughout the year. If you want to keep them short and prevent them from spreading out of control, pinch off any new growth as soon as you see it.
If you prefer, you can let them grow naturally and prune them back in the fall.
When growing evening primroses outdoors, they can easily be divided and moved to new locations at any time of the year. You can also grow them from seeds, which are readily available at most garden centers.
The seeds should be soaked in water or exposed to a warm temperature before planting.
Evening Primrose Plant Pink
The rose family has some of the most beautiful wildflowers that can be found growing in every continent except Antarctica. While each flower is unique in its own way, most of them have traits in common.
The wildflower most people think of when they hear the word “wildflower” is the pink evening primrose. The plant is quite small, only reaching a height of about eight inches.
It belongs to the Onagraceae family along with other wildflowers such as the four o’clocks and the willow herb.
The roots of the evening primrose plant are fairly shallow, usually not going deeper than a few inches below the surface. The stems themselves can either be square or round, and they branch out into a blooming stalk that can support up to ten flowers at a time.
The leaves are an olive green in color and oval in shape. They are sometimes mottled with yellow splotches on their undersides.
The flowers are typically shades of pink, although they can also be white or yellow. They have five petals which may be striped with other colors and have a trumpet-shaped center.
The blooming period can last for several weeks in some areas, starting as early as March and lasting until the first frost. Evening primroses are open for only one day before closing up at night.
Evening primroses contain a mild sweet nectar that attracts a wide variety of insects, especially bees and butterflies. The seeds themselves are quite small and designed to spread far and wide through the air with the help of the wind.
Even if you don’t have evening primroses in your area, there is a good chance you may have some of their cousins, such as the Oenothera macrocarpa (commonly known as the big sunflower), O. biennis (commonly known as the common sundark), or O. annua (which is more of a problem weed than a wildflower due to its limited blooming period and ability to grow just about anywhere).
Evening primroses bloom during the evening and night, which is one reason why they got their name. They also close up during the day, hence the word “evening”.
This process repeats each day until the flowers are eventually spent. They are native to North America and at one time were a major food source for many Native American tribes. Many tribes used the blossoms to make tea, in addition to using them as a general health tonic. The roots were also ground up into a pulp and used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes from treating coughs to alleviating fever.
Evening primroses can be grown quite easily from seeds. The seeds should be planted in the spring and covered with no more than 1/4 inch of soil.
They do best in full sun but will tolerate some shade. They need well-drained soil and cannot thrive in soggy conditions. If the soil is too wet, the plants will begin to decline and get covered with fungus. The roots are shallow and should be allowed to dry out somewhat between waterings.
Evening primroses make excellent additions to any garden and are quite easy to grow. They have natural beauty that not only attracts humans but a wide variety of wildlife as well.
About the only real problem with growing evening primroses is the fact that they close up during the day and their blossoms are white, which makes them hard to see if you’re looking for them.
Evening primrose oils are a popular ingredient in anti-wrinkle creams, with claims that the oil helps to reduce wrinkles and keep the skin elastic. While there is some evidence that evening primrose oil can help with eczema and other skin conditions such as dermatitis, the research is still inconclusive as far as wrinkle removal is concerned.
The most common use for evening primrose oil, however, is as a dietary supplement. People take the oil for a wide variety of reasons, from PMS to cancer prevention.
As with most herbal supplements, claims about the benefits of evening primrose oil are hard to prove. Most studies have shown some benefit as far as general health is concerned, but few have shown anything positive in terms of life-threatening illnesses.
Regardless of the inconclusive scientific studies, many people swear by the benefits of evening primrose oil. They say that they feel better when they take it on a regular basis.
Since there is little to no risk involved in taking the oil, it would seem wise to continue the practice, at least if it makes you feel better.
Evening primroses are also known as the “crying flower” because its petals close during the day and open at night. This trait has lead to many myths and superstitions, one of the most common being that seeing a closed evening primrose will bring you bad luck.
There are also several folk remedies using the plants properties to bring about an abortion or to induce labor.
If you decide to plant evening primroses in your garden, try planting some beside an East-facing wall. The morning sun will shine on them and help them open for the day, giving you a good view.
Purchase Evening Primrose Seeds
Sources & references used in this article:
Antibacterial activity of essential oils from palmarosa, evening primrose, lavender and tuberose by MH Lodhia, KR Bhatt, VS Thaker – Indian Journal of …, 2009 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Rapid Monitoring of Pharmacological Volatiles of Night‐Flowering Evening‐Primrose According to Flower Opening or Closing by Fast Gas Chromatography/Surface … by SY Oh – Phytochemical Analysis, 2018 – Wiley Online Library
Evolution of floral scent in Clarkia: novel patterns of S-linalool synthase gene expression in the C. breweri flower. by N Dudareva, L Cseke, VM Blanc, E Pichersky – The Plant Cell, 1996 – Am Soc Plant Biol