Oenothera californica

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Oenothera californica
Oenothera californica
Oenothera californica

Species Name: Oenothera californica
Common Name: California Primrose

Fragrant large flowers on a spreading, low silvery plant. Superb accent plant on dry, hot south-west slopes. Needs little water once established.

Plant Family: Onagraceae
Plant Type: Perennial
Height by Width: 5"h x 1'w
Growth Habit: Low, dense
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Growth Rate: Fast
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Soil Preference: Sandy or Rocky
Water Requirements: Dry to semi dry
Cold Hardy to: To 15 degrees
Flower Season: Spring-Summer
Flower Color: White-Pink
Endangered?: Not listed
Distribution: Central West, Southwest, Eastern Sierra Nevada, Deserts
Natural Habitat: Sandy or gravelly areas dunes, desert scrub, pinyon-juniper woodland or ponderosa pine woodland below 8000'

Songbird iconA.jpg Butterfly iconA.jpg Fragrant iconA.jpg

Care and Maintenance

  • Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "Foliage ashy gray. Flowers white about 2 inches across, fragrant, opening in the late afternoon and remaining open for a few hours in the morning, and turning pink when fading. Grows in loose sandy soil spreading from a running root system, soon forming large clumps. Very desirable for dry hot situations. Gallon cans, 50c."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.