How to Grow Four O'Clock Flowers
Annual, Mirabilis Jalapa
Four O'Clocks were one of my Grandfather's favorites. He enjoyed the bright trumpet shaped flowers. Four O'Clocks got their name because it opens in mid-afternoon. It remains open overnight, and closes in early morning. They will also remain open on cloudy days. They are also noted for their strong, pleasant fragrance.
Native to tropical areas of North and South America, they are also called "Marvel of Peru". Four O'Clocks are actually perennials that are grown as annuals, in most areas of the U.S.
The bushy plants make attractive hedge or border. Flower colors include white, red, pink, yellow, and some two-toned blooms. Because the flowers are open during the evening, we recommend you place them in areas where people will see them in late afternoon to early evening hours.
Grow them in flower beds, borders, around patios and walking paths, or in containers.
Night Bloomers: How many flowers do you know of are open in the evening? See Moonflowers
Plant Height: 1 to 2 feet
Four O'Clock are typically grown from large seeds, making them easy to plant. Four O'Clock seeds germinate quickly, and grow fast, up to 2-4 feet.
Keep seed bed moderately moist during germination.
Sow Four O'Clock seeds directly into the garden just before the last frost in your area. Cover seeds with 1/4" of soil. Space plants 12 inches apart and thin to two feet apart.
In addition, Four O'Clocks are propagated by its tubers. Tubers should be dug up in the fall and stored in the dark, in damp peat moss or sand.
Days to Germination: 10 - 15
How to Grow Four O'Clock Plants:
Four O'Clock prefer full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Note that in partial shade they may grow lanky. They will do well in rich, well composted soil as they are big eaters. Keep soil moist. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a month to encourage vigorous growth.
Four O'Clocks fit well in borders, as small hedgerows. Try growing them around your mailbox!
Flowers Bloom: Summer through Fall.
Insect and Disease:
Insect and disease problems are uncommon for Four O'Clocks. If problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.