Spinning Primrose – Winter Preparation

Q: I was given a spinning Persian primrose that blooms in the evening, just as it’s getting dark. What do I do with the stalks during the winter?

A: Spinning primrose, Oenothera biennis, is also known as evening primrose. It has fragrant yellow flowers that “spin” as they open at night then wilt at daybreak. Although the flower opening is interesting, the seeds that follow can be a real nuisance. My advice is to collect the tan seedpods from the stalk as soon as they form. Don’t let them crack open and scatter seed. Plant a few of the seeds in a sunny bed now. Some will sprout and grow the rosette of leaves that marks the first year of this biennial plant. These plants will bloom next year. If you save the seeds to plant in spring, they won’t bloom until the following year. By all means, do not put the seed-filled stalks on your compost pile!

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