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 in 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.
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.
One year I got some established roots from Veseys. I had read about the tuberous roots but never seen any. These tubers have been dug and stored in a cool, dry place over the winter and planted again the following year. I’ve had wonderful results doing this each year.
I choose different containers and locations to plant them each year.
After growing the plants from tubers I don’t think I will go back to growing from seed again.
They bloomed from the end of July or beginning of August and in a variety of colours.
A wonderful surprise was a multi coloured one. I was out early in the morning to capture some photos of this beauty.
As the bloom finishes a little pod appears.
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.
I had tied a bit of yarn around each plant … 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 giving away at Seedy Saturdays, seed swapping, gifting to friends or planting another year. If you do this you might be interested in a seed packet or label to attach to your seeds.