4 o’clocks or Marvel of Peru or Mirabilis jalapa is an annual plant where I live in Canada. The blooms of many colours usually open in the late afternoon, all night and close up the following morning. The plant likes full sun and grows just under 1 meter in height. I’m Canadian zone 5b which is the equivalent of USDA zone 4b. In warmer climate zones this plant can be grown as a perennial. I need to dig the root each year and save it in a cool, dark place so that it can be planted the following spring.
seeds and seedlings
Sow seeds outside in spring after the last frost. Plant 1/4 inch or about 75 mm deep and approximately 2.5 cm or 1 linch apart. Cover with soil and gently pat down. Seeds can germinate in about 5 to 10 days. Thin when seedlings are about 2.5 cm tall. Plants like a sunny location but will grow in poor soil. If you prefer you can start the seeds inside about 4 to 6 weeks before planting outside.
Last year I got some established roots from Veseys. I had read about the tuberous roots but never seen any. These tubers can be dug and replanted the following year, which is what I did.
Here are a couple of the tubs that I planted up on May 3, 2013 of this year.
Be sure to leave it on the plant till it dries out and opens up. Inside you will find a little seed just waiting for you to pluck out. Plants can self seed, but not always, if you let the seeds drop.
I had tied a bit of yarn around each plant last year… the colour of the yarn depicted the colour of the bloom. Because no matter how much I tell myself I will remember what colour of plant is in what pot, I don’t always remember.
As I gather the seeds I pop them into an egg carton. The top and bottom row in the above photo has each section labelled with a colour of the 4 o’clock seeds.
When the seeds were all dry they were stored in paper envelops all ready for seed swapping, gifting to friends or planting another year.
This year I have 3 big pots right by the kitchen door and the blooms are visible whether I’m inside or outside. Because of my knee surgery I haven’t spent a lot of time working in the garden, but I can still enjoy it from the deck.
ABC Wednesday is up to F. F for four o’clocks.
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