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The Exotic 4 O’Clock Flower

Four O’clock flowers or Mirabilis jalapa are perennial flowering species. They are from the Nyctaginaceae family and are native to South America. It is sometimes called the Marvel of Peru and is named Jalapa, a city in Veracruz Mexico.   

Mirabilis Jalapa

The flowers from the 4 O’clock plant are quite unique. It features 5 distinct petals which are trumpet-shaped. They vary in color from pink to yellow to white and red.  And they are surrounded by deep bushy leaves. Their flowery blooms are produced in the summertime and last till fall.

4’ O’clocks are better used indoors as ornamental plants. You can also plant them in your night or moon garden.  But it is worth noting that these gorgeous flowers are toxic to pets and people. So ensure you are careful when growing them around kids.   

Botanical NameMirabilis Jalapa
Common NamesMarvel of peru, 4 o’clock plant, Garden Jalap 
OriginSouth  America 
Plant TypePerennial flowering plant 
Full SizeRanges from 2 feet to 3 feet tall  
Sun ExposureFull or direct sunlight but can tolerate filtered sunlight  
Soil TypeWell-draining, a little acidic
ToxicityToxic to pets and people when ingested 

Care Guide For The Four O’Clock Plant 

The Mirabilis Jalapa plant requires lots of watering and fertilizer. But in all, it does need average maintenance as the requirements are simple. They are also quite sturdy, so you won’t have to worry much about pests. And their sweet-smelling fragrance makes them worth planting. 

Light Requirements for the Mirabilis Jalapa 

Although they are considered night bloomers, the mirabilis loves full or direct sunlight. So ensure you provide a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight each day.  They can also tolerate some light shade, but ensure the light is bright enough. 

Too little sunlight can affect the plant’s appearance. The plant would appear leggy, and its flower blooms would be very poor.  So ensure you provide the plant with enough sunlight for it to thrive. A good spot to place it would be a sunny, south-facing window. You can also place it next to a west-facing window.

If you must provide shade for the plant. Then make use of a light cloth or curtain. You can also make use of growth light at night times to supplement its light intake.    

Water Requirements for the Mirabilis Jalapa

Watering should be frequent,  as frequent as once or twice a week. But it is important that you avoid soggy soil, as you can invite root rot.  It is best to keep the soil moist. You can achieve this by mulching the soil. 

Let the soil dry out a little before watering the plant. But if it’s too dry, you risk killing the plant. A great way to check the soil mix is to use a moisture meter. You can also try sticking your finger in the soil to check its moisture. If the topmost part fills a little dry, then water the plant. 

The best water to use is rainwater. But in absence of rainwater, dechlorinated water would do.  Avoid regular tap water, as it contains chlorine which can harm the plant’s leaves. The water should be at room temperature, to avoid stressing the roots. 

Soil Requirements for the Mirabilis Jalapa 

Soil Requirements for the Mirabilis Jalapa 

Like the Casa Blanca lily,4 o’clock flowers grow in almost every soil type. The major requirement is that the soil is well-draining. It should also be able to retain enough moisture for the roots. You can achieve this with a loamy soil mix that is mulched. 

An ideal pH level for the 4 o’clock plant is acidic soil. It should be between the range of 6.0 and 7.0  

Humidity and Temperature Requirements for the Mirabilis Jalapa  

An ideal climate for the Mirabilis is a warm climate that is a little humid. It can also survive regular humidity. It is important that you leave the soil moist at all times. 

Temperature requirements can be between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also survive temperature levels of 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizing Four O’clock Flowers  

Feed your exotic mirabilis plant once a month from spring to fall. This is their growing season, so they need all the support they can get. Ensure you make use of a well-balanced fertilizer and be careful not to overdo it.  Excess fertilizer can cause an unimpressive appearance for the plant.  

And if you added enough organic compost to the soil mix. Then you need little fertilizer.  

Propagating Four O’Clocks 

They can be grown from seeds. It is best you wait for the winter season to pass before sowing them. The best season would be the spring season. 

Common Health Problems Of The Mirabilis Jalapa 

Four O’Clocks are disease resistant. But they suffer from a few health problems like the following. 

  • Curling leaves 
  • Rusts 
  • Improper blooms 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do you plant Mirabilis tubers?

You can plant them as seeds in a well-draining pot.  Provide enough water.

What do four o’clock seedlings look like?

They possess triangle-shaped leaves. They are bright green in color.

How deep do you plant four o’clock seeds?

Grow the plant at least ¼ inches deep into the soil.

Do 4 o’clock reseed?

Yes, it is possible for the mirabilis Jalapa to reseed.

How do you save 4 o’clock seeds?

It is best to store them in a cool place. You can consider keeping them in a refrigerator.