In the post on how to collect Four O' Clock flower seeds I mentioned how I haven't had much luck getting four O' Clock seeds to germinate for me in my garden. I'm happy to report that after a few years of trying, the garden gods decided to smile upon me. Behold, two Four O' Clock flowers from my garden.
The first is this yellow Four O' Clock flower. Charming isn't it? The tubular blooms are even opening early in the evening, unlike the plants I saved the seeds from. Star-shaped flowers are probably my favorite. Mirabilis jalapa, the botanical name of Four O' Clocks are also commonly referred to as Marvel of Peru.
The second is this white Four O' Clock bloom from the same seeds I saved from the empty lot near my house. Even though I've collected a lot of Four O' Clock seeds, from various colors, over the past couple of years I only managed to germinate seeds for a white and yellow Four O' Clock plants. Begger can't choosers and free plants are free plants, right? Notice how the pollen sacks are yellow in the white bloom, but red in the picture of the yellow Four O' Clock above?
This spring I decided that I would try to dig up a Four O' Clock tuber from the empty lot and plant the tuber in my own garden this year. The day I walked over to where the Four O' Clocks had been growing wild I discovered the empty lot had been turned into a parking lot. I guess I lucked out, or maybe the Four O' Clock plants lucked out because now they can live on in my garden and I can continue to save seeds and share them with garden friends.
So what did I do differently this year in trying to germinate the Four O' Clock seeds? Nothing I can think of, really. Perhaps the seeds sprouted because I let them soak in water longer than usual after I scarified them. Maybe the spring rains kept the soil moist and that helped the seeds germinate. Whatever the reason for my luck with Four O' Clocks I'm couldn't be happier. Thanks to everyone who commented and shared tips on starting Four O Clock seeds in the post on how to collect Four O' Clocks. I really appreciate your tips and desire to help.
Update: It looks like we may get a storm or some rain today judging by the fierce winds. While walking past the Four O' Clocks I noticed that the blooms were all tightly shut. I know some blooms will close up during the rain so as not to waste pollen but I didn't know that Mirabilis jalapa did this. Pretty cool.
Here's my garden video on collecting Four O' Clock seeds.