Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pretty In Pink~Showy Evening Primrose

 I love this pushy little flower! Call me eccentric, but I appreciate a plant that likes to romp around my garden and make a big statement.
 Showy evening primrose does make a big statement...Some gardeners might say it makes too big a statement!

But, not me.

Flowers and plants that can thrive in my shallow, clay soil are very much appreciated. Oenothera speciosa does that and more. It is a pink ground cover that lights up the Susans garden mid-spring and combines beautifully with the foliage of later blooming wildflowers.
I like rough and tumble plants that can take care of themselves and colonizing plants that make a big show and Oenotheras are rough and tumble colonizers. Many gardeners think they're aggressive or thuggish and if the idea of plants romping here and there doesn't appeal then you might want to steer clear of this pretty in pink beauty. In the right circumstances (dry rocky soil) it can spread aggressively in your garden and be nearly impossible to eradicate.
I have a wet winter garden and they still manage to romp about....mostly down slope, not up! I rip out the plants before they set seed, they look messy anyway, but, getting all the root is nearly impossible so every year, they return.
Again, I don't mind them in my garden. They're pretty and pink, they smell sweet, and pollinators love them...They're nectar and pollen rich and it has been suggested that based upon the size of the stamens and styles that large butterflies, day flying sphinx moths and hummingbirds may be pollinating them. (source)
X marks the spot for pollen and nectar
Although, I haven't seen hummers or sphinx moths nectaring on Showy evening primrose, it is popular with small bees and bumbles.

It's a good thing I like them a lot, they're in my garden for good and most likely forever!


PS Originally a native plant of the south-central United States and the rocky prairies and savannas of the lower Midwest, it is now commonly seen along roadsides and in disturbed areas over a much broader region. It is available in the nursery trade and has been a pass-along plant for generations! (source)

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.


  1. I love those, Gail! They really do brighten a space and that pale pink goes with every other color now in bloom. Sweet shots of those sweeties!

  2. Pretty, but not in my garden. My friend next door planted some in her garden, but wishes she hadn't. Somehow, it escaped and now grows in a section of my vegetable garden, so I am constantly pulling it out. A funny story -- I saw a woman buying three one-gallon pots of it at a garden center once upon a time. I told her to put two down as one pot of it would be enough for her entire garden...

  3. Very pretty!
    I have the yellow Common Evening Primrose, but it is not blooming yet.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  4. I scattered seeds in my rose bed one year and spent the next several years pulling out primroses! I love it on roadsides and in meadows and I especially love it in your garden! Right plant, right place!

  5. You know me Gail, I could never rid my garden of a pink flower but this guy didn't like my soil. Twice I tried it, twice it died. Too wet in the winter maybe. Your photos are gorgeous and yes, I like plants that move around and reseed. It keeps the garden interesting. This year I was better about watching for slugs and I've got a bazillion Kiss Me Over The Garden gate seedlings. PINK FLOWERS, hooray! Beautiful photos!

  6. I share your appreciation for Oenothera speciosa and have given it free rein in the driest areas of my garden where groundcovers can be hard to establish. I also yank them when they get too shabby looking (which, in my case, will probably be within the next couple of weeks). As the returning foliage is also attractive, I'm willing to accept the plant's thuggish behavior.

  7. I always love them in bloom...but am too chicken to add them to my tiny little garden!

  8. I like them! I've seen them around here, too. I also appreciate beautiful plants that are rough-and-tumble colonizers. Beautiful photos of this excellent wildflower!

  9. It is a beauty. I have had it in my garden a couple of times. I have never thought it to be invasive. As a matter of fact it doesn't last here. Hmmmmm Maybe I mistake the seedlings as weeds and pull them. That would be sad.

  10. Do you have Queen Anne's Lace? It makes a pretty statement with the primrose and larkspur.

  11. It is lovely. I also like plants that are tough and aggressive. I even like common milkweed.

  12. What a beautiful flower and it mixes in so nicely in your rough and tumble area.

  13. This was one of the first plants we grew in our garden and it almost took us over! They are so pretty though. I love your photos!

  14. So far, I'm enjoying this flower, but I do have it in a more contained area. The blooms really are lovely. But talk to me again in a few years! Mine were started from seed by me, even though I noted in the past that any perennial you can find in the seed section of the store must be a thug.

  15. As always your pictures are gorgeous! I love this plant. The flowers are so showy. I need to get a picture but wanted to let you know that the beautiful pink penstemon you sent is blooming and looks wonderful!

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