En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - June 28, 2011

From: Denton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Transplants
Title: Post-bloom period care for Pink evening primrose
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in Denton, TX. I introduced pink evening primrose as a ground cover to a xeriscaped section of my property a few years ago. I have pretty much left it alone and let it do its thing and I have been rewarded for that until now. I know that it typically can get somewhat leggy in the summer, but it's unacceptably leggy this year. I am considering cutting it back. My questions are: 1. How tall do I need to leave it in order to not traumatize it? (I'm not sure whether to do this with a high setting on the mower, or with an electric weed trimmer) 2. It's supposed to be in the upper 90s over the next 10 days or so. Is this a good time to cut it back, or would it be better to wait for cooler weather? 3. With the understanding that I would like to encourage the colony to continue to expand, what other advice would you give for cleaning up or maintaining evening primrose?

ANSWER:

You certainly have one of the best wildflower species for a Xeriscaping garden in Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose).  It is quite safe to mow the patch back to the ground whenever the plants become too leggy.  Since you wish to encourage the colony to grow larger, it would be best to wait until the seed capsules become hard and dry-looking. The seeds will then be mature and will be released if you leave the mowed stems on the ground in a dry spot. 

Pink evening primrose also readily propagates through the extension of underground roots if there is a bit of moisture in the soil.  Some gardeners actually find the plant too invasive for their tastes despite the ease with which plants advancing into unwanted spots can be pulled up.  If you wish to encourage even greater expansion of the primrose coverage, transplant a few of the plants to new locations.  They are tough and should survive if transplanted in somewhat cooler weather and kept watered for a week or so.

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Something eating milkweed leaves in Austin
June 23, 2011 - I have some milk weed plants, and have noticed in the last few weeks that something is eating the leaves on them. The flowers are fine and no other plant appears to be bothered. I thought perhaps it w...
view the full question and answer

Foundation plants for Albuquerque.
July 01, 2012 - Hello, I live in Albuquerque. I am looking for some native/xeric low water usage plants for foundation plants for my home. They will be foundation plants for a two story home that has a large ponde...
view the full question and answer

Will hybrid Tecoma stans attract hummingbirds from Glendale AZ
July 07, 2012 - We bought a bells of fire plant; would like to know if hummingbirds like them?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for wildlife gardening in Illinois
May 29, 2006 - I live in Rockford, Illinois. Where/How can I find information on native flowers, plants, trees, grasses and animals, and other things I can plant on our property (about an acre) to provide a home fo...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife management tax exemption
May 15, 2007 - I live on 10 acres of prairie land near Austin. I want to learn about drying and pressing and gluing and preserving wildflowers as art in pictures and bookmarks and cards. My attempts have failed an...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center