INPGA Native Plant Photo Album
DESERT FOUR O'CLOCK

Mirabilis multiflora

Four O'Clock Family
(Nyctaginaceae)

 


One of the showiest wildflowers of the Intermountain region, desert four o'clock is also one of the easiest to grow. As long as it is not overwatered, its shoots will reliably appear in late spring year after year, forming seemingly ever-larger clumps of improbably lush leaves. A massive water-storage tuber allows this plant to flower prolifically all summer with little or no added water. The inch-wide blossoms open in late afternoon, just like the flowers of its more-often-planted tropical relatives. This plant looks its best when grown in lean soils with little water. High fertility results in lots of leaves but not many flowers, while overwatering tends to rot out the crown and shorten the life of the plant. Desert four o'clock makes a splendid specimen plant if given plenty of room to sprawl. It will quickly over-run smaller perennials and shade them out, so give it a large space of its own. Once the plants freeze back in fall, the tops can be removed--the plant will regenerate from the underground tuber.


 

Desert Four O'Clock habitDesert Four O'Clock habit Desert Four O'Clock flower closeupDesert Four O'Clock flower closeup Desert Four O'Clock in gardenDesert Four O'Clock in garden Desert Four O'Clock flowersDesert Four O'Clock flowers

Other names: Colorado Four O'Clock, Showy Four O'Clock

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