Mirabilis marvel of Peru, four o’clock plant
Height 60cm (2ft)
Planting distance 30cm (1ft)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
Light, moderately rich
Sheltered sunny sight
Tender perennial grown as a half-hardy annual
Marvel of Peru or four o’clock plant, botanically known as Mirabilis jalapa, has fragrant, trumpet-shapedin yellow, red, crimson, rose-pink or white, often striped, veined or mottled with contrasting colours. These usually open from mid to late afternoon and fade the following morning, though in cool dull weather they open earlier and stay fresh for longer the following day. Appearing from mid summer to early autumn, they are carried on erect 60cm (2ft) high plants, and are set against a foil of heart-shaped mid-green leaves.
The plants are suitable for growing in clumps in sunny borders.
Sow the seeds under glass in late winter to early spring and germinate at a temperature of 18°C (64°F). Prick out the seedlings into boxes when large enough to handle, and harden off before planting out in late spring to early summer. Set the plants 30cm (1ft) apart in groups of five or seven.
Pests and diseases
Aphids may infest young growths.