Tropical Style

Low-Growing Evening Primrose

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a low-growing plant with blooms that open in the day. Individuals plant it as an accent plant in the backyard, and its own oil has medicinal uses. It is available in a couple of distinct varieties, such as Mexican evening primrose and typical evening primrose.


Evening primrose has a sprawling growth pattern, green leaves and small- to medium-sized blooms. The blossoms bloom during late summer and spring. Mexican evening primrose has pink or purple blossoms, as does showy evening primrose. Common evening primrose and evening primrose wildflowers native to the Ozarks are far bigger and yellowish. The plant frequently stays low to the ground, reaching heights of between 6 and 24 inches tall. The plant foliage dies back during cold weather, which makes it less attractive during autumn and winter than during summer.


Evening primrose grows throughout most of the United States and southern Canada, especially in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. It tends to grow along plains, prairies and hillsides. It prefers soils with excellent drainage and grows best when it receives full sunlight.

Landscaping Uses

Evening primrose produces an superb border plant or accent plant. It grows well near the foundation of buildings or bigger plants, and its flowers add color to the lawn. Its low growth and sprawling design make it to function as a groundcover, though it doesn’t look great when the foliage dies back during winter. Gardeners can even plant evening primrose in pots. Since the plant can spread and become a nuisance, gardeners should avoid planting it too densely and trim it back after it blooms every year.

Medicinal Uses

The oil from the seeds of evening primrose contains gamma-linolenic acid, which helps with many bodily functions. It helps patients with HIV who suffer from nerve damage or skin conditions caused by HIV medications. Evening primrose oil also helps treat premenstrual syndrome by reducing symptoms such as cramps and bloating. Studies show that it decreases cholesterol levels too. Even though the oil is safe for most people, people who suffer from seizures or emotional illnesses that induce mania should avoid taking the oil.

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