for the creatures of the night


tufted evening primrose
oenothera caespitosa

  • perennial, 1' tall, spreading to 3' wide

  • white flowers evening into morning, "fading" to pink in afternoon

  • regular to moderate water (low to terrace zones)



  • nectar plant for native bees, butterflies, moths. Birds eat seeds. 

  • larval food plant for white lined sphinx month

This is simply an elegant plant! Tufted evening primrose is a night blooming perennial, growing to about 1-3 feet wide, but staying at about a foot tall. The white flowers open up in the evening and persist into the morning, though eventually fading (and turning pink as it fades). The undulated leaves are also attractive and turn purple in the winter. 

This plant looks good mixed in a bed with other perennial flowers like penstemon, desert marigold, or salvia. Because it stays low-growing, it works well on the edge of a bed. 

Tufted evening primrose attracts the evening pollinators (especially moths) like the White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata) which loves this plant as adults (for nectar) and also as larvae. It is also an important nectar plant for butterflies and especially native bees. Birds like goldfinches love the seeds. This species occurs across the western United States and northern Mexico, from 4500 to 7500 foot elevations, and is hardy to -20°F 

Katherine Gierlach