Not far from my garden there is an empty lot with a hedge of Four O' Clocks that grow an flower like mad. I try not to pass the abandoned property very often because these plants just remind me just how much I stink at trying to get these seeds to germinate. I've tried for years to grow Four O' Clocks from seeds with little luck. On this abandoned property they grow in almost full sun, watered only by rain and they thrive.
They're called Four O' Clocks because the plant has a habit of blooming after 4:00 PM, but I took these pictures at 5:00 PM. I think these flowers need a better alarm clock, no?
Even unfurled the flowers are interesting to look at and resemble trumpets. The red, pink, yellow and white blooms put on a display in the late evening when they open up.
The large and black seeds, that resemble miniature grenades, are easy to spot because the Four 0' Clocks, don't develop a seed pod. You can find them cradled, where the petals of the bloom were prior to being pollinated, when they are really ripe. I'm amazed at how readily these Four O' Clock seeds germinate, grow & bloom year after year without any help. I guess their durability is why they are such a popular annual garden plant. Maybe next year I'll break down and just buy some, because no matter what I do I can't get a single seed to germinate.
I made a short video that demonstrates where to find the seeds on the Four O' Clock, what they look like and how to collect them.