Sundrops, or evening primrose , are a common roadside flower which has bright yellow blossoms that seem to shimmer in the sunlight. Sundrops are flowers made up of four wide petals forming a cup that measures 2 – 4″ across. The plants grow between 1 – 3′ tall in zones 3 to 11 and blossom between the early summer and fall seasons. Requiring little care, sundrops are an ideal flower for xeriscaped gardens, dry soil, or poor quality soil. While sundrops are a wildflower, they can be cultivated from either seeds or from being transplanted in the wild. There are several different varieties of sundrops, which include: Oenothera fruticosa, or evening primrose proper; Oenothera Missouriensis, or Ozark sundrops; and Oenothera pumila, or wide-petaled sundrops. Sundrops are perennials, which means they will blossom year after year once you add them to your garden. These flowers are perfect for a butterfly garden as they attract bees and butterflies with its sweet nectar.
Collect the seedpods of sundrops from fields in late fall or early winter after they have finished blossoming. If you prefer, you can also uproot the plant and transfer it to your garden. Sundrops have shallow roots, so if you gently tug at the base of the plant, it should come up quite easily, especially when the soil is dry. Prior to planting sundrops, decide where in your garden you want to place them. Due to their height, they look best placed in the center of a circular or square shaped garden. If you have a stray patch of garden area outside your regular flower garden, and want to fill it with a brightly colored flower, sundrops are an ideal flower. So long as the area they are planted in receives at least 8 hours of full sunlight, your sundrops will have no difficulty growing in your yard. Sundrops have a very high tolerance for hot/dry and hot/humid climates so they will blossom without dying during their seasonal growth cycle.
Sundrops do not require a lot of water, so plan on them growing in an area of your garden with other flowers that prefer dry soil conditions. The only time sundrops need water is during the germination stage: lightly water them after planting the seeds in a shallow row approximately 6 to 8″ apart. The plants have a tendency to spread so allow enough room in your garden to grow. If you are transplanting sundrops from their original location, no watering is necessary, although you can put them in slightly dampened soil. Gently pack the soil around the base of the plant and enjoy the bright, cheerful flowers.