When children in the garden stand in front of a plant, fascinated, and watch the flower gradually unfold at dusk, it can only be about the decorative evening primrose. The individual parts of the plant can be used as food as well as medicinally and pharmaceutically.

Location and soil

Most of the species that can be counted as evening primrose thrive in sunny areas in the garden. Warm temperatures ensure that the plant can develop optimally. In addition, however, penumbra is also tolerated. Since the plant unfolds numerous decorative elements, its use in the garden is very diverse. The evening primrose looks particularly stylish in rock gardens or in natural gardens. Both sunny embankments and areas in front of south walls are ideal locations here. Different varieties, for example the carpet evening primrose, have a particularly decorative effect hanging over the top of the wall. The Missouri evening primrose works on dry stone walls as well as edging beds, while the common evening primrose is well suited for areas in the garden that are to grow wild. High species can also be used on slopes. In a fresh open space, the plant can be planted individually or in small groups. The plant also has a decorative effect in herbaceous borders.

In the wild you can often find the evening primrose on road or road embankments, but also on sandy ground or in quarries. The soil requirements of the individual species are correspondingly varied. Basically, however, substrates with the following properties should be used for the cultivation of evening primrose:

  • high permeability
  • low susceptibility to waterlogging
  • fresh soil that shouldn’t dry out
  • rich in nutrients
  • fumes

For the common evening primrose, mainly sandy substrates are used, while other varieties prefer loamy soil properties.

Watering, fertilizing, cutting 

Watering the evening primrose should be done regularly, but with caution. The frequency and intensity of the water supply depends, among other things, on location conditions and temperatures. Overwatering in particular must be avoided at all costs; Waterlogging can contribute to the formation of root rot.

The supply of nutrients should also be moderate. Occasionally the plant can be fertilized; however, the fertilizer should then be dosed as weakly as possible. The Missouri evening primrose and the high evening primrose in particular benefit from composting or the targeted supply of nutrients via an organic fertilizer in spring.

Both the removal of withered parts of the plant and the targeted pruning can have a positive effect on the plant. The biennial plant only forms the flat rosette of leaves in its first year of life; in the second year the plant grows tall and begins to bloom. If the evening primrose is cut after flowering or towards the end of winter, there is a chance of a second pile. The regular removal of withered flowers also promotes abundance of flowers and, above all, extends the flowering period, which usually extends from June to September.


The wintering of the evening primrose is easy because the plant is frost-hardy. While some species, such as the common evening primrose, usually do not need additional winter protection, other species require insulating pads. Especially in cold regions of Germany, it is advisable to pile up sticks with species such as Missouri evening primrose or high evening primrose in order to optimally protect the plant. In this context, cut branches of the spruce, which, when stacked in a close arrangement, offer ideal protection from the cold, have proven to be particularly effective. At the same time, optimal air permeability is guaranteed. In addition, spruce branches gradually lose their needles in the period up to spring; so the plant is supplied with more light and air again at the right time.

Propagation and sowing

There are different methods available for the reproduction of the evening primrose, depending on the species:

  • Self-propagation via seeds
  • targeted sowing of seeds
  • Multiplication by division
  • Propagation via head cuttings

The evening primrose is able to reproduce itself through seeds. The seeds can be sown outdoors for targeted propagation.

Note: these birds use seed pods as food; therefore the seeds should be harvested in good time.

Targeted sowing can take place between spring and June. For this purpose, the seeds are sown in the chosen location. Then you cover the seeds up to 2cm high with soil. The separation takes place at a distance of 25cm.Propagation via head cuttings is carried out in spring; the cutting is obtained from the shoot tips. A mother plant that is as healthy and strong as possible is selected for propagation. A point about ten centimeters is cut off, which is severed with a neat cut just below the knot. It is best to use a sharp knife for this. The lower leaves are then removed from the head cutting. Now you put the shoots in pots or bowls that contain special potting soil. Make sure that the originally basal part of the cutting points downwards. After plugging in, at least one eye must look out of the ground. So that the shoot tip can take root optimally, the highest possible humidity should be ensured in the subsequent period. For this purpose it has proven to be useful to use a plastic hood as protection against evaporation. As soon as new leaves appear on the plant, the plant can be moved, for example in larger pots and then outdoors.

The multiplication by division is quite straightforward. In a first step, the evening primrose is dug out of the ground. It is essential to ensure that the roots are not damaged. The evening primrose forms tap roots; these are best divided with a knife. The separation takes place preferably from the younger growth area of ​​the underground parts. Care must be taken that each section has individual shoots and a sufficient root system. Unclean separation points are cut with a knife, torn parts of plants or root sections are completely removed so that there are no points of attack for diseases.

Injured areas, for example caused by bruises, must be smoothed out before replanting. To prevent the roots from rotting, it has proven useful to rub the interfaces with charcoal powder. After this treatment, the individual pieces can be inserted into the prepared substrate. Then you press the soil around the plant and water carefully.

Pests and diseases

The most common diseases that can be dangerous to the evening primrose include different types of the tubular mushroom genus Septoria. The main damage is dark leaf spots that merge into one another. Affected parts of the plant must be removed immediately.

In addition, the crop is often attacked by downy mildew. An infestation can be recognized by the following characteristics:

  • velvety coating of white-gray to brown color on the undersides of the leaves
  • yellow or brown spots on the top of the leaves
  • Death of infected parts of the plant

Particularly in high pressure weather or strong temperature fluctuations, special fortifying agents for plants, which are given out in a targeted manner, help as a preventive measure. These include, above all, garlic broths. In addition, it has proven useful to plant individual specimens of the evening primrose at a sufficient distance from one another. Avoiding one-sided nitrogen fertilization can also help prevent the disease. If evening primrose is known to be endangered in the chosen location, resistant varieties should be selected. If the plant is already infected, special fungicides should be used. In this context, products that protect beneficial organisms, for example based on lecithin or sulfur, have proven to be particularly effective. In the case of downy mildew, particular attention should be paid to treat the undersides of the leaves. Fungicides taken up systemically via the roots and leaves are also particularly advantageous here.

The earth flea is a classic pest of the evening primrose. The damage caused by hopping leaf beetles is characterized by a number of characteristic features. After an infestation, numerous tiny holes often appear on both the cotyledons and the developed leaves of the plant. These are characterized by their sieve-like structure. If the infestation is severe, the leaves of the evening primrose appear to be literally “riddled”. The classic symptoms of total devastation often appear on the seedlings in particular. As a preventive measure, it has been proven to optimally prepare the soil before and during the cultivation of the evening primrose. For this purpose, the substrate is kept well moist and often chopped. Young plants are also provided with mulch. Targeted amounts of compost help the crop to develop well and provide optimal protection against fleas. The creation of a mixed culture has also proven itself as a preventive measure. For this purpose, spinach and lettuce can be placed between the individual evening primrose plants. Small plants are also dusted with algae lime or rock flour to make them more resistant. By spraying tansy tea or wormwood tea, optimal protection is also achieved. to make them more resilient. By spraying tansy tea or wormwood tea, optimal protection is also achieved. to make them more resilient. By spraying tansy tea or wormwood tea, optimal protection is also achieved.

The evening primrose louse is one of the most common pests that infest evening primrose. As a suitable countermeasure, beneficial organisms such as hover flies and parasitic wasps can be promoted.

When cultivating evening primrose, it should always be borne in mind that the seed pod is a sought-after food for birds. Here, what appears to be sporadic eating damage can quickly develop into a major problem.

Use of the evening primrose

The evening primrose has numerous uses. Given as a cut flower in a vase, it unfolds its decorative advantages in every living room. In addition, the roots can also be consumed during the first winter of the plant. Similar to black salsify in taste and preparation, but the roots of the evening primrose develop a little more spiciness. This part of the plant is offered as “ham root” at some vegetable stalls.

The seeds of the evening primrose have gained great importance in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. The oil that is extracted from the seeds is rich in valuable unsaturated fatty acids. The use of evening primrose seed oil is quite versatile; The ingredients can provide relief for typical symptoms associated with menopause and can also be used for inflammatory processes in the skin. For example, the oil helps with neurodermatitis. The plant can also be used to generally strengthen the immune system.

Decorative, versatile and easy to cultivate – the evening primrose delights both passionate hobby gardeners and beginners with little gardening experience. Optimally cared for and carefully cut back, the life of the attractive perennial can even be extended so that the plant lover can enjoy the pretty plant for a particularly long time.

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