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Mirabilis Jilapa - Four O'Clock Plant

KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,790
I managed to get some seed of this lovely plant.  I know it probably isn't hardy in the UK, and would welcome any advice about cultivation.


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,674
    Easy to grow from seed. Start in March in gentle heat. Pot onto 3 inch pots of multipurpose compost. Plant out  end of May. They form a tuber which can be lifted and regrown the following year, bit I find they will self seed in mild years.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,886
    I was sent some seeds by someone on here some years ago, they overwinter ok for me, I didn’t even realise they might not.  The only problem is that I don’t get many flowers on them. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • The tubers are monstrous. They are very easy to lift and store if you are worried about hardiness. Seed is also good, but will not come true of course. You can get some bizarre hybrids, with blotched and striped flowers.
    Everyone likes butterflies. Nobody likes caterpillars.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,129
    The RHS says sow in March and keep them at 13 to 18C to germinate.   See here for more info on care, cultivation, propagation....

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    @KeenOnGreen how did you get on with them.  Mine have germinated........ surprised how big the seedlings are.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,886
    I’ve had mine quite a few years now,  they’ve survived cold winters and do flower now, didn’t in the first couple of years. Just treat like any other seeds you grow, no special treatment. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    @Lyn ohh that's disappointing, I was looking forward to flowers this year........
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,886
    Maybe you will Mary,  please let us know.
    Maybe because of the high altitude here it slowed them down a bit. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,790
    @Mary370  I managed to get our seeds to easily germinate.  I had two plants, and both flowered in the first year.  I managed to over Winter one of them, but the other one died (even though the tuber was huge, and looked healthy).  I decided to stop growing them, as although the foliage is quite attractive, I found the flowers disappointingly small.

    When I first spotted M Jilapa on holiday in Corfu, the flowers were much bigger, and more impressive.  Perhaps our cooler climate means they don't produce such large flowers.

  • EustaceEustace Posts: 1,688
    I planted tubers a few years ago in a sunny border in my previous home, they've come back every year without fail though the flowering period is short - late August till October.
    Oxford. The City of Dreaming Spires.
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils (roses). Taking a bit of liberty with Wordsworth :)

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