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mirabilis jalapa mystery

coccinellacoccinella Posts: 1,020
I planted these 3 years ago and for the first three years they have absolutely respected their "4 o'clock flower" name, opening late afternoon. This year the flowers opened around 11 am and closed around 6pm on all plants whether they were placed south or north (they spread like mad so I have a little invasion now). In central Italy they don't open until 6pm or later, that's why they call them "belle di notte". Do they adapt to local light conditions?



  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,819
    I first saw them on holiday in Corfu, which is where I got our seed from.  When they flowered in my London garden, the flowers were much smaller, and less impressive, than the ones in Corfu.  I also found that ours flowered at odd times, such as mid-morning.  I gave up on them, as the flowers weren't as showy as I'd hoped for. 
  • EustaceEustace Posts: 2,016
    Yes, I think they adapt to the light conditions. Some of mine, which are overshadowed by other plants have flowers opening in the morning.
    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 :)

  • coccinellacoccinella Posts: 1,020
    I find the flowers are as good but their scent is nothing compared to what you get as you walk alongside them in southern Europe. 

  • PeggyTXPeggyTX Posts: 556
    edited October 2021
    They grow wild down on our rural cabin property an hour south of my home in Central TX.  Usually, over the last 4 years we've owned the property, they have opened early morning until about 8am and then again around 4pm, closing around 6pm.  But last week when we were down there for a few days to get some fence repairs done, not only were they in full bloom at 8pm in pitch dark, but a hummingbird moth was also feeding on all the blooms to beat the band!  I didn't know those moths were nocturnal!  I was astounded to say the last.  Only reason I saw this interesting event is we had been watching out for an armadillo that has been digging holes around the base of all my planted trees and shrubs.  Saw the armadillo, being hotly pursued by two young, curious racoons, so the trap was a waste of time on thisi particular evening.   Those 'coons gave him a run for his money though.  :)  We've been trying to trap & relocate him so he won't do more young tree and shrub damage than he has already.  He saw to it my Vitex tree died before it reached 4'.  He digs holes around the roots and exposes them to air.  I refill with dirt when the holes are found, but for the Vitex, the damage was when we were gone for over 2 weeks.  We only go down there every 2 weeks to mow lawn and water plants. 
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  • coccinellacoccinella Posts: 1,020
    PeggyTX  thank you for your contribution. Well, I think we have established that Mirabilis open their flowers when they feel like it 😂 possibly prompted by pollinators flying around. Lovely story about the armadillo and the racoons. None of those around Luxembourg! 😂

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