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Narrow-leaved sundrops

Oenothera fruticosa

Oenothera fruticosa

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun

Soil moisture: Dry to medium

Height: 1.5'-2.5'

Spread: 1'

Flowering period: June

Sundrops’ light-yellow blooms have a mellow, easygoing beauty that takes the start of summer in stride. Unlike some other members of the evening primrose family who are primarily night-blooming, sundrops keeps its flowers open throughout the day. The blooming period is fairly early, peaking in June, and lasting for one to two months. The plant is recognized by the Xerces Society for providing special value to native bees, and researchers have noted that bees account for 83% of pollinator visits to the plant, and flies, the other 17%. Interestingly, it seems that large bees are better than small bees at pollinating sundrops flowers. This may be due, in part, to some large bees’ habit of visiting flowers of a given species in sequence before moving on to the next species. Bumble bees in particular are known to display this foraging trait, known as floral constancy.

A plant of the meadow, sundrops grows best in average to moderately dry soil and in full sun. Due to its fairly good drought tolerance, sundrops is a great option for drier parts of the yard, such as tree lawns. Growing to just 2.5 feet tall, and possessing a multi-stem form and showy flowers, sundrops is appropriate for both formal and naturalized gardens, and it works well as a border. The plant is not aggressive, but it commonly spreads via self-seeding. Gardeners should remove the seed capsules before they mature if spreading is not desired. For a lovely show of color early in the growing season, plant sundrops with smooth penstemon, Ohio spiderwort, common yarrow, and black-eyed Susan.

Photo by Julie Slater.

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