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How to Grow Evening Primrose

By Katherine Kally ; Updated September 21, 2017

Evening primrose is a native wildflower in North America that boasts delicate pink, yellow or white cup-shaped blossoms in the evenings throughout the summer. Evening primrose is a member of the Oenothera family and also is commonly called sundrops or desert evening primrose. Most gardeners treat evening primrose as an annual, but they are biennial or perennials that reseed themselves.

Growing Outside from Seed

Select an area of your garden that is sunny or partially shaded. Evening primrose enjoys a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7 that is also a bit sandy. Make sure the area has good drainage.

Rake the area where you plan to plant the seeds to loosen the soil. Evening primrose does not need to be planted deep within the soil; it just needs a light covering.

Sow the seeds during early spring or early autumn by scattering the seeds over your prepared plot of soil. Cover the seeds lightly, about one-eighth inch, with sandy potting soil. Water the seeds in lightly.

Water evening primrose during dry months and prune them after flowering if you’d like to avoid reseeding.

Starting from Seed Indoors

Sow evening primrose seeds in starter pots about 10 weeks before the last frost in your area. As with outdoor planting, use a sandy soil with a slightly acidic pH level. Fill your starter pots with soil, place several seeds in each pot and cover them lightly with soil.

Place the seeds in a dark, cool environment. Evening primrose can take up to four weeks to germinate.

Transplant the evening primrose into your garden after the last spring frost. Plant the smaller varieties 6 inches apart and the larger varieties 20 inches apart. Water after planting.


Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Evening primrose seeds
  • Potting soil
  • Water


  • Oils and creams made from evening primrose seeds and stems have significant health benefits. This versatile plant contains omega-6 fatty acids and is used to treat a wide range of health problems including women's issues, cholesterol, eczema, heart disease, high blood pressure and as a defense against cancer and multiple sclerosis.

About the Author


Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.