Four O’clock Flower or The Marvel of Peru - Mirabilis jalapa
10 open pollinated seeds from our gardens for $4.00.
This bushy type perennial growing to 1-1.2 metres high is a tough plant for the garden. The fragrant flowers which open late in the afternoon and close by morning, come in an array of colours in pink, red, magenta, yellow and white, streaked and freckled. In fact, you can have solid and streaked flowers on the same plant.
It prefers full to part sun and once it starts flowering, will continue till the frost arrives. The plant will die down, but once the warm weather arrives, will reshoot from the underground tuber.
Once established, they are a low water maintenance plant, though will benefit from a good soak in hot weather and mulching. The plant grows more like a small open bush, so lends itself to being planted amongst other tall growing annuals.
Once the weather has warmed and the danger of frost is over is the time to sow. Soak the seeds in luke warm water overnight or lightly nick the seed. Plant into moist soil where they are to grow, about 1 cm deep, germination takes about 10-14 days with two large leaves emerging.
An edible crimson dye is obtained from the flowers to color cakes and jellies. Also dyes for fabrics can created. However, please note neither of us have any experience with either of these features, please do your own research.