Four O Clock Seeds - Marvel of Peru
- Seed Count: 200 Seeds
- Maturity Date: Approximately 50-65 days from germination
- Plant Type: Perennial in warm climates, often grown as an annual
- Origin: Native to tropical regions of South America
- Height: Grows 2-3 feet tall
- Spread: 2-3 feet wide
- Soil Preference: Well-drained, moderately fertile soil
- Light Requirement: Full sun to partial shade
History: The Marvel of Peru, scientifically known as Mirabilis jalapa, is a fascinating plant native to tropical South America but has since been naturalized in many parts of the world. It's commonly known as Four O'Clock because its trumpet-shaped flowers tend to open in the late afternoon and stay open until the following morning. This plant has a long history of use, not just as an ornamental species but also in traditional medicine. It has been used for various ailments, such as digestive issues and skin conditions. In the modern era, the Marvel of Peru has captivated gardeners globally with its intriguing blooming habits and its ability to attract pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies.
Uses: The Marvel of Peru is a multi-purpose plant that serves various roles in the garden. It's primarily grown for its showy, trumpet-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors including yellow, pink, red, and sometimes even a mix on the same plant. These blooms not only add a splash of color to your garden but also release a pleasant fragrance, especially in the evening. Moreover, the plant's unique blooming schedule makes it a prime candidate for evening or night gardens. The flowers also attract a range of pollinators, contributing to the garden's ecological balance. In addition to its aesthetic value, some people use parts of the plant in traditional herbal remedies, although caution is advised as not all parts are edible.
Growth Habit & Planting Instructions: Growing Four O'Clocks from seeds is relatively easy, even for novice gardeners. Start by sowing the seeds directly in the garden a couple of weeks after the last frost, or you can start them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep in well-drained, moderately fertile soil. They prefer a sunny location but can tolerate partial shade. Germination usually occurs within 7-14 days. Once the seedlings are well-established, thin them out so they are spaced approximately 2-3 feet apart to allow for optimal growth. Four O'Clocks are drought-tolerant but will appreciate regular watering during dry spells. They are low-maintenance plants that don't require much fertilization, although a balanced fertilizer can be applied in poor soil conditions. Keep in mind that these plants can self-seed quite aggressively, so if you wish to contain their spread, remove the spent flowers before they set seed.