A wildflower native to North America, Common Evening Primrose are beloved for their lemon-scented yellow flowers that open in late afternoon and evening and close the next day. Commonly found in meadows, beaches, dunes and along roadsides, you won’t find any in the shade as they love full sun. A biennial in zones 3-9 in Canada, the flowers tend to self-seed, so be prepared to contain them by pinching off the expired blossoms or by planting them in containers if you don’t want them to take over your garden!
Common Evening Primrose has the interesting tendency to bloom during the evening until late morning, attracting beneficial night pollinators and bees early in the day. New flowers appear almost every day. They are edible and great tossed in salads. The leaves of second-year plants are a versatile green to use in the kitchen. In fact, Common Primrose has a long history of medicinal and culinary properties and is a popular wildflower to forage. The nut-flavoured roots are edible as well. They were cultivated as a vegetable in England and especially in Germany during the 1800s.
- Latin Name: Oenothera lamarckiana
- Life Cycle: Perrenial / Self-seeding biennial
- Canada Hardiness Zone: 3-9
- Days to Maturity: 90 days
- Planting Depth: 3-4 mm
- Plant Spacing: 30-40 cm
- Growth Habit: 90-180 cm tall
The delicate and stunning primrose will grow vigorously in garden beds, containers, along borders and just about everywhere else! Be advised that primrose is considered an invasive plant in some areas and should be closely monitored to prevent spreading.
This interesting biennial species blooms in the late afternoon and evening, attracting a different cohort of pollinators, such as bats and moths. Primrose seeds should be sown directly in the fall. Choose a garden space that has rich, loose, well-drained soil, sow the seeds and water well. Thin plants to 30 cm apart after germination.
If you wish to start seeds indoors, this cold period known as stratification must be replicated. Fill a container with moist seed-starting mix, sow the seeds, cover them and put everything into the refrigerator. Remove the container from the fridge in late winter when the seeds have sprouted and are showing their true leaves. The primrose will now be ready to be potted individually.
During this first season, the new sprouts won’t flower, but will instead develop their root systems and produce a leafy base low to the ground. The following year, the rosette will send up a tall and firm stem and the small four petaled flowers will start to appear in the summer. When flowers eventually die off, their seeds will be dispersed and new plants will begin to spread.
Primrose should be located in a site that receives full sun. Contrary to its blooming habit, this flower still requires lots of light. Well-drained soil is extremely important for growing healthy primrose plants. Soil should be able to retain moisture, but never let it stay soaking wet. A thick layer of mulch can be laid around the base of the plant to keep the roots cool and prevent evaporation in the hot summer months.
Water regularly, but moderately to achieve ideal conditions. If leaves begin to brown or become discoloured, the plant is probably getting too much water and may be suffering from root rot.
Primrose will grow best during the summertime, but does prefer cooler temperatures. This is why it’s important for the plants to get established early in the cool months. Supplemental fertilizer should not be necessary during the growing season, unless you’re working with especially poor soil.
Starting your primrose may be a two-year task, but once established they should take off and reproduce their nocturnal blooms bountifully for years to come.
- The Latin name for the primrose is "Primula," originating from the word "primus," which means "first" or "early." The name refers to the fact that primrose is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring.
- The leaves and flowers of primrose are edible and make a great addition to salads.
- Primrose seeds will remain viable for 2 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!