Oenothera pallida. This rare BC native grows to a height of 15-60cm (6-24″). Pale Evening Primrose has been red-listed in the wild, but it’s an important food plant for native butterflies and bees. The highly fragrant, pale pink flowers bloom all summer, opening in the evening. This dainty flower looks magnificent in mass plantings, and may naturalize in BC gardens. It is very drought tolerant once established, so a choice option for xeriscaping schemes. Meanwhile, just enjoy them planted in large containers. Pale Evening Primrose plants are not long lived, but will self-seed in the right environment.
How to Grow Oenothera
Pale Evening Primrose is an important BC wildflower that provides food for our native pollinators. Learn how to grow Oenothera in your garden to feed the bees and bring back this beautiful flower from endangered status. This flower is also known as Suncups and Sundrops.
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
O. pallida is a short lived perennial plant that self sows, but is in no way invasive. In the right setting it may naturalize. Sow indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost in peat pots to prevent root disturbance. That’s the third week in January to the first week in February on the coast. Otherwise direct sow the seeds in early spring, or autumn in mild winter areas. Seeds should germinate in 5-30 days.
Just cover the small seeds, and germinate at 18°-21°C (65°-70°F). Seeds require darkness to break dormancy.
Space plants 13-23cm (5-9″) apart. Plant in light, well drained soil with a pH of around 5.5-7.0. Sandy soil works well for this plant. Oenothera is tolerant of dry and is a good candidate for xeriscaping. In really fertile soil the foliage can be robust, but fewer flowers form. Top dress with fully composted manure in the spring. Provide irrigation during long hot spells, and cut the plants back by a third after flowering to keep them looking neat. Hot summer weather may cause the plants to briefly stop flowering. Powdery mildew sometimes appears in humid conditions.
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