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Plantidote of the Day 2012-07-09

twig's picture

four o'clock

Mirabilis jalapa

Four O'clocks, Marvel of Peru

Very easy to grow and fairly drought tolerant! In fact, four o'clocks are so easy to grow that they're practically invasive here in Zone 10. Plant the tubers just about anywhere there's some sun and they'll do the rest. If you're in an area that freezes in the winter (that still happens some places, right?), you'll have to dig up the tubers and take them inside during winter, or whatever it is you normally do with tubers.

I should warn you that these plants are self seeding and quite determined to do it, too. The flowers produce small black pellet-like seeds that end up sprouting into plants all over the yard. I'm not sure how that happens -- birds? Anyway, the name four o'clock comes from the flowers' habit of opening late in the day. Color-wise, there's magenta, raspberry pink, white, and the yellow above, along with some pretty exotic versions. Online, several people referred to fragrance, but I'm not detecting any.


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