Xeriscape Gardens

Oenothera Fruticosa (Narrowleaf Evening Primrose) Care Guide

A carpet of Oenothera fruticosa evening primrose in the garden.

Oenothera fruticosa, commonly known as Southern sundrops or sundrops, is a tall-standing, day-flowering plant that produces beautiful, terminal clusters of bright yellow flowers in late spring and summer. The lance-shaped, fresh green leaves of the Oenothera fruticosa are a little jagged.

The plant is called sundrops thanks to the cup-shaped flowers that bloom during the day. Even though each flower is short-lived, they grow in succession through a period of two months. You can grow this low-maintenance flowering plant in your garden under full sun as a xeriscape plant.

Quick Care

A carpet of Oenothera fruticosa evening primrose in the garden.
Oenothera fruticosa growing in an English garden. Source: wallygrom
Common Name(s): Narrowleaf evening primrose or narrow-leaved sundrops
Scientific NameOenothera fruticosa
Height & Spread:1-3′ tall and wide
LightFull sun to part shade
SoilWell-draining soils
Water:Tolerant of dry conditions
Pests & Diseases:Fairly resistant to deer, rabbits, etc.

The narrowleaf evening primrose is a flowering plant that is part of the evening primrose family Onagraceae. It is native to many parts of Canada, Hawaii, Greenland, and Eastern North America, where you can find it growing in dry woodlands, wild gardens, moist savannas, and rocky outcrops. It is a tall herbaceous plant that grows to a height of 1-3′ ft.

In your garden, grow pretty Oenothera fruticosa as a garden border and in your rocky or drought-tolerant gardens.

Types of Sundrops

Even though sundrops are a particular species in the evening primrose family, they have two commonly grown cultivars – ‘Fireworks’ and ‘African Sun’.

The ‘Fireworks’ cultivar has dark yellow flowers that emerge from red buds. The foliage is deep bronze and the stems have a slight tinge of red to them.

‘African Sun’ has bright yellow cup-shaped flowers, creating a gorgeous mat of yellow in your landscape.

Oenothera Fruticosa Care

Gorgeous yellow cup-shaped leaves
A close-up of the gorgeous yellow cup-shaped leaves. Source: beautifulcataya

Fruticosa Oenothera is a pretty low-maintenance perennial plant. Here’s how you can properly take care of your bright yellow sundrops flower.

Light & Temperature

These plants, belonging to the evening primrose family, can be found growing in sunny sandy USDA hardiness zones of 4 to 9. They thrive under full sun; however, you can also grow them under light shade. The minimum temperature requirements of these plants are -33°F.


This plant is fairly drought tolerant and does not need a lot of water to thrive, so make sure that you water your plant sparingly.


These plants thrive in soil pH levels of 5 to 6. You can easily grow your flowers in moderately fertile, well-draining soils. The soil moisture requirement of these plants ranges from dry to medium.


It doesn’t require fertilizer at all.


Since these plants are native to dry woodlands and sunny savannas, you can transplant your store-bought sundrops in a sunny area with a good amount of light and heat.


You can propagate your flowers via their seeds and bare roots. Very easy to spread, so take care in your propagation techniques.


If the foliage of your Oenothera dies back post-flowering after summer, you can prune the stems to the basal rosette to encourage new growth.


This plant is fairly easy to grow since it is resistant to pests and diseases. However, here are some growing problems that your fruticosa oenothera might face.

Growing Problems

Make sure that your Oenothera fruticosa gets at least 6 hours of sun during the day since it needs direct sunlight to thrive, bloom and form in your garden. Also, don’t over-water your plant as it prefers dry soil.


It is resistant to pests.


It is not susceptible to any diseases.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Oenothera fruticosa

Q. Is Oenothera deer resistant?

A. Yes, this plant is resistant to deer as well as rabbits.

Q. Are sundrops perennial?

A. These plants are perennial plants, i.e., they will last for at least two years when you grow them in your garden.

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