Four O’Clocks

Hot pink four o'clock flowers

Native to Peru and cultivated for hundreds of years, this drought-tolerant plant has fragrant and colorful blooms. Named for the time of day its flowers open (give or take a couple of hours), this was a popular “passalong” plant among Southern gardeners. “Passalong” plants are often hard to find in nurseries or retail garden stores, but are “passed along” out of one gardener’s yard to a friend or neighbor’s.

Four o’clock grows as a perennial in Florida. The flowers can be red, magenta, pink, yellow, or white, sometimes with more than one color on the same plant, and even bi-colored. The trumpet-shaped flowers open in the evening and wilt the next morning, and attract hummingbirds and moths.

Four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) do best in full sun and bloom late spring, throughout the summer, until fall. In North and Central Florida, they will die back in the winter. It should be noted that this plant can spread aggressively in the warmest regions of the state.

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