Mexican primrose- Evening primrose

Botanical Name: Oenothera speciosa

Category: Perennial

Divisible: Yes

Common Name: Pink evening or Mexican primrose, pinkladies

Evergreen: No

Propagation: Division,  seed

Family: Onagraceae

Invasive: Yes – see below

Size: 18″ tall x up to 36″ wide

Evening Primrose also known as Mexican or Pink Primrose is a drought tolerant, sun loving perennial wildflower. Pale pink blossoms 1 ½ to 3” in size bloom profusely in the spring. They can tolerate any soil condition making them an easy addition to your garden. They are hardy in zones 4 through 9.

In many parts of the country, as its name implies, pink Primrose will open in the evening and close in the morning. In southern regions – and in the high desert garden – the flowers open in the morning and close in the evening.

My Experience:

Evening primrose is best suited for areas where it can naturalize as it will self seed and spread through runners prolifically. It makes a wonderful ground cover and is absolutely gorgeous when it is a blooming mass of pink.

These plants will spread like wildfire in the right conditions and they are next to impossible to control or eradicate. They will make a wonderful undergrowth in a perennial garden but can be a risk for choking out other less feisty perennials.

Every spring I dig a majority of these up and divide them into small plants. Fortunately this is easy to do as their roots are fairly shallow and it is easy to see the smaller plants in a clump. But before I know it they are huge again!

During the growing season, prune stems after they finish blooming, to invigorate plants and encourage compact growth. In my garden I can get subsequent blooms by shearing the tops of the plants when the first bloom is over.

Used in the right place, Mexican primrose can be a great addition to the high desert garden.

Practical advice from a home gardener

I am Deborah Valiquet – artist and obsessive gardener. Here you will find my advice for creating a garden oasis in the high desert. I’ll share my experiences – successes and failures over the last 10+ years. 

Even if your garden isn’t in the high desert you will find lots of valuable information here. Let’s dig in!