Four o'clock flowers grow and bloom abundantly in the summer garden. Blooms open in the late afternoon and evening, hence the common name "four o'clocks." Highly fragrant in a range of colors, the four o'clock plant sports attractive flowers that attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.
Four O'clock Flowers
Four o'clock flowers, Mirabilis jalapa, were originally found in the Andes Mountains of South America. The Mirabilis part of the Latin name means "wonderful" and is an accurate description of the hardy four o'clock plant. Grow four o'clocks in poor to average soil for the most abundant production of four o'clock flowers. Many varieties of the flower exist, including some that are native to the United States. Native Americans grew the plant for medicinal properties. Mirabilis multiflora is called the Colorado four o'clock. By now you may wonder what four o'clock flowers look like. They are tubular-shaped blooms in colors of white, pink, purple, red, and yellow that grow on erect to trailing green stems. Different flower colors can appear on a single stem in some varieties. Bi-color flowers are common, such as a white flower with red markings on the throat.
How to Grow Four O'clocks
It is easy to grow four o'clocks in the garden or natural area. Four o'clock flowers grow from seeds or division of the roots. Once planted, collect four o'clock's hard, black seeds for planting in other areas. Four o'clocks flourish in a full sun to part sun area and are best planted where you can enjoy the heady fragrance. It is helpful to soak or nick the seed coat before planting. A low maintenance bloom, this reliable flower needs only occasional watering and is somewhat drought resistant. If seeds are not collected when they form near the end of the bloom season, expect numerous four o'clocks to sprout next summer. These can be removed if coming up too thickly or in an unwanted area. Plants can be limited by growing in containers, where they will often take a cascading form. This herbaceous perennial dies back to the ground after frost to again return in late spring when soil temperatures have warmed. Add the wonderful four o'clock to your garden for fragrance and bountiful evening blooms.
Gardening tips, videos, info and more delivered right to your inbox!
Sign up for the Gardening Know How newsletter today and receive a free download of our most popular eBook "How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes."
Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.
Pantone’s Color Of The Year 2024 Is A Gardener’s Dream – Discover 7 Flowers That Are ‘Peach Fuzz’ Perfection
The global authority on color has spoken, and 'Peach Fuzz' is the shade we'll all be seeking out in the coming year. Find out why this gorgeous pinky orange deserves a place in your garden, and be inspired by our top flower picks
By Melanie Griffiths Published
15 Garden Trends To Avoid in 2024: Experts Warn Against These Outdated Designs
Garden trends come and go. We asked gardening experts to share the outdated trends that should be retired – and what you can do instead.
By Melanie Griffiths Last updated
Why Won’t My Four O'clocks Bloom: How To Get Four O'clock Flowers
There's nothing sadder than a flowering plant with no flowers on it. It's a common complaint with four o'clocks, in particular, and there's usually a very good explanation. Click on this article to learn more about how to get four o'clock flowers.
By Liz Baessler Last updated
Four O’Clocks Winter Plant Care: Tips On Winterizing Four O’Clocks
Everybody loves four o'clock flowers, right? In fact, we love them so much that we hate to see them fade and die at the end of the growing season. So, the question is, can you keep four o'clock plants over winter? Find out here.
By Mary H. Dyer Last updated