Garden Flowers - Four O-Clock aka Mirabilis
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Sunflower
Pansy
Nasturtium
Four O'Clock

 

FOUR O’CLOCK FAMILY TREE
Mirabilis is an interesting family containing 350 species in 34 classifications. The wild four-o’clock (Mirabilis nyctaginea) is a native of the Dakota prairies and has spread as a weed eastward to the Atlantic States. It was originally discovered by the French botanist Andre Michaux around 1792.

The common garden variety four-o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa) is also known as Marvels of Peru. Four o’clock received it’s name because of its habit of opening in the late afternoon. It is not actually the time of day that causes the flowers to open, but the drop in temperature. The flowers close the next morning, except on dull, cloudy days.

FOUR O’CLOCK MINUTIAE

  • Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the fragrant plant.

  • The seeds (small, black, wrinkled surface similar to a pepper grain) are extremely poisonous.

  • Four o’clocks are deer resistant (whatever that might imply)!

  • "Mirabilis" means "Wonderful" in Latin

FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE GARDEN

An old fashioned favorite, four o-clocks are a fast growing bush plant. They grow to about 36" with oval lance shaped leaves and trumpet shaped, fragrant flowers. Flowers may be shades of red, pink, yellow, white or striped. Mirabilis is a wonderful addition to an evening garden. Once even one flower opens, a rich fragrance is released into the surrounding air.

The plant thrives in all zones, blooming in early through late summer. Four o’clocks thrive in ordinary soil in full sun or partial shade, sending up numerous volunteer seedlings every year (even in cold parts of the country.)

Seeds may be sown directly into the garden in the Spring in warm areas. In other areas, start the seeds indoors about eight weeks before the final frost date in Spring for transplanting. Seedlings may be set in the garden at about the same time you would plant tomatoes. Allow about 12 inches between plants. Roots are tuberous and can be stored for planting in the Spring. Plants can also be divided in early Spring.

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