Four o'Clocks: Count me in as loving them.

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Four o'Clocks

By SongofJoy
May 18, 2014

Most people who have experience with these tuberous plants that thrive in the heat of summer seem to have definite opinions about Four o'Clocks. Because they are prolific re-seeders, some find them an annoyance to be yanked out of the garden asap. Others love them, as I do.

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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
May 17, 2014 6:05 PM CST
I just have always loved Four O'Clocks. Easy flowers that I think are especially pretty. I don't mind that they reseed. I just yank out any that grow where I don't want them to be.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
May 17, 2014 6:25 PM CST
I love all the pretty colors of Four O'clocks but they can be invasive down here in Florida, more so the white variety than any other for some reason. We had a major problem with them at our other house and it was impossible to keep them under control. One year I cleared an area outside and along our fence and property line because the county was really bad about keeping that area mowed. I dug out some really huge Four O'clock tubers that I swear each weighed five pounds or more! The white Four O'clocks and Southern Sword Ferns always took over that area. We do have hard freezes here at times which knocks them back to the ground but they always come back with a vengeance as soon as the weather warms and they multiply like crazy. I haven't been over to our rental house in a long time but my husband will be going over there next week to replace the pool filter and do some maintenance work on the garage door so I might have to go along to check out the yard. Smiling
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Name: Sandy
Mont Belvieu, TX 77580 (Zone 9b)
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ilovejesus99
May 17, 2014 6:39 PM CST
I absolutely love them and have only managed to have yellow and fuschia so far but working on other colors
Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
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qwilter
May 17, 2014 6:45 PM CST
I was given a fuchsia one last year. Had never seen 1 before then. This year I have a nice size clump of them.
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Name: Alana H
(Zone 7a)
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poisondartfrog
May 17, 2014 6:58 PM CST
I love them because they are one of the first flowers I recall from childhood. Along with Hollyhocks, they evoke magical memories.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 17, 2014 8:05 PM CST
They were the first flower name I learned and as a child my parents allowed me to select a seed packet and plant them 'all by myself'. In New England we planted the seeds every year so I just assumed they were an annual. Imagine my joy now that I live in the South and can enjoy them as perennials. I faithfully save as many seeds as I can in an effort to control their spread; only missed 12 that germinated and will be relocated. My newest is the pure white - so beautiful.

Will the white and other colors created hybrids I wonder?
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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
May 17, 2014 8:49 PM CST
I have always wanted the fuchsia ones or red or really any color. I got a packet of seeds last year & germinated them. Well, I didn't plant the entire packet as that would be too many. Out of the ones that germinated, 2 survived planting in the garden where it's sun, sun, sun & more sun & a virtual inferno in the summer. I waited not so patiently to see what color they would be. White, both of them. I am not a big fan of white blooms. That is not to say that I don't like white blooms at all. It's just that most times, I prefer colors; the brighter the better. So I got 2 white Four O'Clocks. Life likes to play games with us sometimes.

Maybe I'll scrounge around & see if I can't find those remaining seeds & see if I can get some other colors in Four O'Clocks.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 17, 2014 9:16 PM CST
I love them, too! Self-seeding in my area, not so much... for the last 4 years or so I've bought seed and tried to get some started, with no success (I regularly grow all sorts of stuff from seed, from petunias to tomatoes to herbs). Tried soaking the seeds, nicking the seeds, planting directly in the ground -- nothing!! Is there some trick to this plant that I should know (kind of sounds like everyone else is more worried about it being invasive than getting it to grow in the first place), or am I just getting bad seed?? I've never seen 4 o'clocks offered at the local greenhouses... any help is welcome and appreciated! Confused
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
May 18, 2014 3:11 AM CST
I am not sure why that is. It is a plant that likes warmer weather. I believe the zones for growing it as a perennial are 7 and higher. It should grow as an annual in your zone and it could be something with the seeds. Do you or have you tried growing them in sun directly next to your house? I know some grow them that way in colder zones. Many say the white is the most vigorous in colder climates but I don't know if that's the case.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Sandy
Mont Belvieu, TX 77580 (Zone 9b)
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ilovejesus99
May 18, 2014 5:28 AM CST
I have Fuschia and yellow I would love to trade for white seeds or other colors and also could send some for postage. I have picked these off of my own and know they are good seeds
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
May 18, 2014 5:39 AM CST
@Weedwhacker try agin but in addition to nicking & soaking (which is what I did), put a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide in the water you soak them in. Also Tee's suggestions sound great.

@ilovejesus99 -- sending you a tmail.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
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Onewish1
May 18, 2014 5:39 AM CST
I too love them.. and never had them reseed once.. wish they would here
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 18, 2014 7:56 AM CST
Tee and Ann, thanks for the suggestions! I knew that they wouldn't be perennial here, but right next to the house sounds like a good idea just for getting them to grow bigger in the growing season that they would have. And I'd totally forgotten that the hydrogen peroxide can help stubborn seeds germinate... At any rate, you've inspired me to give it another try, I can be just as stubborn as any seed Hilarious!
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
May 18, 2014 8:09 AM CST
nodding Me too. It's definitely a good trait for any gardener to have, IMHO.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
May 18, 2014 8:46 AM CST
I agree
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
May 18, 2014 9:55 AM CST
Crying If only I'd know a few years ago that people wanted Four O'clock seeds! I had more than enough seeds AND tubers that I would have gladly shared! They were in such abundance (especially the white variety) which were the most prolific when it came to seeds and the white ones also seemed to grow the tallest too, reaching four feet or more in height. I always preferred the dark pink, yellow and the ones with splashes of color which for some reason didn't seem to be as invasive as the white variety.
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The stems as well and tubers of the white variety get huge but those pictured below were very small compared to some of the plants that we dug out.
Thumb of 2014-05-18/plantladylin/82b265 Thumb of 2014-05-18/plantladylin/04b442

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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

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frankrichards16
May 18, 2014 11:13 AM CST
Many years ago (2005) I purchased Mirabilis 'Hot Glow' seeds from Thomson & Morgan. I usually dig up the tubers and store them over Winter. They do self seed, but if you save the tubers, you will get a much larger plant. Note that I am in Michigan zone 5. Hot Glow is my favorite:

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Also, I have recently tried Sweet 4 O'clocks. they have really long necks:) I did these up, but they also self seed.
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I have tried many different colors... broken colors, white, limelight, custard & Cream, Marrakesh, stars & stripes, and pink pin wheels. Sometimes the seed was not true to color or did not germinate well. Here is Hot Glow & Broken Colors. If you find a color that you like, the safest way to have it again the following year is to save the tuber (it's probably a root).
Thumb of 2014-05-18/frankrichards16/b15f75

Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
May 18, 2014 11:19 AM CST
Beautiful Frank!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
May 18, 2014 12:15 PM CST
Frank: I agree, beautiful ... I really love that one called 'Hot Glow'!! Lovey dubby
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
May 18, 2014 12:19 PM CST
Wow, Frank!! Those are gorgeous! I definitely need to look for 'Hot Glow'.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

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