Answer: Four o'clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) can be started from tubers (the swollen roots) or from seeds and may even self seed in your garden. In warmer areas (USDA zones 8 to 10) they are perennial, but in your area it is too cold for that so they would normally be grown as annuals. You would need to dig them in order to keep the same large plants. There are several types of four o'clocks so you might have a hybrid beween the jalapa and longiflora types.
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