What is a Pink Primrose?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Pink primrose, known scientifically as Oenothera speciosa, is a flowering plant that is known by many different nicknames. This perennial was originally found growing wild in the southern parts of the United States and parts of Mexico. Pink primrose is often a popular choice for gardens around the world, as it seems to grow well in less-than-stellar conditions. Care should be taken with this plant, however, due to its tendency to become invasive.

Some more common nicknames of the pink primrose include pinkladies, fairy flower, and amapola. In many parts of the United States, it is often incorrectly referred to as a buttercup. Mexican primrose is another name that refers to pink primrose, due to its abundance in parts of Mexico. Because of its showy flowers, showy evening primrose is another name; in fact, the specie's Latin name literally translates to "showy."

The foliage of the pink primrose consists of pinnate leaves, which are usually long and narrow. They can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) long and 1.5 inches (4 cm) wide. Spear-shaped, these leaves often have toothed edges, and the young leaves are considered edible.

Pink primrose generally does not grow more than 2 feet (61 cm) high. This is considerably shorter than its cousin, common evening primrose, which can grow as high as 5 feet (1.5 m). The herbaceous stems are smooth and topped with showy flowers.


As the name suggests, pink primrose flowers are pink. These flowers can grow to be up to 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) across, and almost all of these flowers have a bright yellow center surrounded by four petals. Some may have just a tinge of pink at the tips of the petals that fade to white near the center, while others may be a bright pink.

These fragrant blooms can usually be seen during the spring and summer months, and sometimes as late as early autumn. Many species of primrose open their blossoms at dusk and close them again at dawn. Despite the nickname pink evening primrose, this species of primrose typically opens its blossoms in the morning and closes them at sundown.

Due to the drought-resistant nature of these flowers, they make a popular addition to gardens in warmer, dryer regions. Because it has a tendency to develop root rot, pink primrose should be planted in semi-dry, fast-draining soil. Although it can do well in partial sun, this plant will thrive in full sun.

Pink primrose is a perennial plant, and it spreads by seeds and by sending out runners, called rhizomes. Rhizomes are a type of stem that grow horizontally under the ground. These rhizomes will then grow roots and sprouts, which will eventually send out more rhizomes. Pink primrose is considered to be a great plant for ground cover, and if one is not careful, it can grow out of control and take over a flower bed very quickly.


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