Four O'Clock Seeds or Bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

Amherst, NY
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Question by amherstiv
August 8, 1999
Last spring I ordered some four o'clocks I don't remember from where, I received some rootings that looked like little brown carrots. They've grown into the most spectacular plants, bushes covered with yellow, scarlet and white trumpet flowers. I keep seeing articles about four o'clock seeds but nothing about bulbs. I would like to plant more of these but I'm not sure if the seeds are the same thing I've got. Are there two types of four o'clocks? If these are bulbs, do I have to dig these up at the end of the season and store them in the basement? We live just north of Buffalo New York, so the lake keeps us a little warmer than this latitude would suggest. Thanks

Answer from NGA
August 8, 1999
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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