Mirabilis jalapa (4 o'clocks)
(An Old-fashioned Favorite)
These brightly colored, trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers open in the mid-afternoon, stay open overnight, and close early in the morning. They do this not because of the time of day, but because of the drop in temperatures! They also will remain open on cloudy days.
The bright, fragrant flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Plant in full sun in moist, well-drained soil. For best performance, add a general purpose fertilizer once a month to encourage vigorous growth and big, bright blooms.
Once the plants have flowered, you can collect large black seeds from the base of where the flower came from. These seeds can be directly sown in the ground in the spring after the last frost in your area. They germinate quickly in 7 to 14 days. You can also soak the seeds in water the night before you plant them to further increase germination. When planting, cover the seeds with 1/4" of soil. Once the seeds germinate, thin to 2 feet apart.
At the end of the growing season in the fall, dig up tubers, brush off excess soil, and store in a dark area in damp peat moss or sand. The tubers will be ready for planting the after the last frost the next spring!
Bring some old-fashioned flare to your garden with 4 o'clocks!