Growing Guide
plant thumbnail


Annual Flower

Also known as Four O’Clock, Beauty of the Night, Marvel of Peru
Mirabilis jalapa
Nyctaginaceae Family

Four O’Clocks bring jazz to the nighttime garden with vivid flowers in shades of yellow, pink, purple, red and white. Plants have a thick taproot that helps them survive dry conditions.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil

Special locations:

  • xeriscapes
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1.5 to 2.5 feet

Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom time:

  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall
  • mid-fall

Flowers until frost.

Flower color:

  • red
  • yellow
  • violet
  • white
  • pink

Flowers come in a wide variety of shades of these basic colors, in single colors or with striping. They open in late afternoon, stay open all night, and die by morning. They remain open all day under cloud cover.

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • dark green

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: upright

Plants are loosely bushy.

Shape in flower: same as above

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive - Not aggressive in the North, may be aggressive in warmer climates south of Washington DC.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Tropical Americas
  • fragrant
  • beneficial insects - The flowers attract moths.
  • hummingbirds
Special uses:
  • direct-seeding
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed - Sow seeds outdoors where desired after last frost date, or start indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date.

Will self-seed new plants the following season in most locations most years.

Germination temperature: 70 F

Days to emergence: 7 to 10

Maintenance and care:
Keep soil moist for abundant bloom, but plants will tolerate dry conditions.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

Various flower colors and striping patterns.

‘Tea Time Party Formula Mix’: vivid pink, white, yellow or red shaded blooms are showy.