Four O'Clocks

“Everything old is new again and that’s certainly true when it comes to four o’clock. They open later in the afternoon but persist until sunrise so if you entertain in the evening, plant a stand of these pretties next to your patio or deck. They will reward you with lovely soft fragrance as well a colorful show.” Written by Nancy Szerlag in her Annuals For Michigan by Lone Pine Press.

Choices of Four O'Clocks

Plant choices recommended by Nancy Szerlag in her Annuals For Michigan by Lone Pine Press.

M. jalapa forms a bushy mound of foliage. The flowers may be solid or bicolored. A single plant may bear flowers of several colors.

Care For Four O'Clocks

The care information provided in this section represents the kind of practical advice is available for all the plants in this web site if you subscribe to the monthly customized newsletter Yardener’s Advisor.

Caring For Four O'Clocks
MarchFour O’Clocks are easy to grow from seed, either indoors under lights or outdoors in the garden. If direct seeding is your choice for Four O’Clock, sow seeds directly into the garden bed after all danger of spring frost is past.
AprilPlant Four O’Clock seedlings purchased at the garden center or nursery, or those you've started indoors, as soon as danger of frost is past and the soil is warm (when night time temperatures stay above 50 degrees). See Yardener’s Helper re: hardening off seedlings before planting outside. Any seedlings sprouting from last year’s seeds can be easily transplanted to any place in your yard or removed from spaces where they are not wanted. Space plants at least one foot apart.
MayIf Four O’Clocks are growing in good soil containing lots of organic material, they want only a light feeding in the spring when the seedlings are set out, about a half a tablespoon of slow-release granular fertilizer per plant. In poor soils use a bit more; one tablespoon of slow-release granular fertilizer per plant. That is all you need for the season.
Optional task – Four O’Clocks grow best when mulched. As soon as the Four O’Clock seedlings are tall enough, spread a 2 or 3 inch layer of some organic material such as chopped leaves, dried grass or wood chips on the soil around the plants. For more information see the file on Using Mulch
JuneFour O’Clocks sometimes need support to protect them against heavy rain, wind and passers-by. Cut them back some, or stake them with straight, sturdy sticks that are at least as tall as the eventual height of the Four O’Clock plants.
SeptemberFour O’Clock – Your plants will die with the first hard frost. Remove them to the compost pile but keep the beds mulched right through the winter, ready for next year’s plants. This plant will readily reseed itself next year.

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