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Plant Profile: Missouri Primrose (Oenothera missouriensis syn O. macrocarpa)

The fragrant, lemon yellow flowers of this primrose have paper thin petals that give them a delicate look in spite of their large size. They are borne singly on reddish stems that tend to sprawl, and open in the afternoon from large, reddish buds. Each flower lasts for several days and is followed by a winged persistent seed pod. In the South blooming may stop when the temperatures rise. A native of southern and central US, Missouri primroses grow in almost any well-drained location although they prefer deep, fertile soil in full sun. Try them with coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ for a charming color echo with a big contrast in flower size and foliage.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Bloom: Lemon yellow, 3-5” fragrant flowers from all summer while temperatures are cool.

Foliage: 2-4” lance shaped light-green leaves.

Size: 6-12” H x 1-1 ½” W.

Light: Full sun; tolerates some shade.

Soil: Fertile, deep, well-drained but tolerates less as long as soil is well-drained.

Hardiness: Zones 3-7.

Care: In North, mulch in winter.

Pests and Diseases: None of importance but roots will rot in poorly drained soil.

Propagation: Seed or division after flowering.

Companions: Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’, Catmints (Nepeta spp), irises.

Outstanding Selections: ‘Greencourt Lemon’ (2-2 ½” flowers).

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