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4 Oclocks

4 Oclocks

4 Oclocks

In China it is called the "shower flower" (Chinese: 洗澡花; pinyin: xǐzÇŽo huā) or "rice boiling flower" (simplified Chinese: 煮饭花; traditional Chinese: 煮飯花; pinyin: zhÇ”fàn huā) because it is in bloom at the time of these activities.Plant seeds directly into the soil after all danger of frost has passed in spring, around the time you plant tomatoes. Soak seeds overnight in warm water the night before planting to hasten germination. Grow four o clocks seedlings indoors under grow lights 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date and transplant seedlings into the garden as well. Transplants will bloom earlier than direct seeded plants.Grow four o’clocks in full sun in almost any type of soil but they do best in a humus-rich, well-drained spot. Plants can be started from seed sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed or indoors up to 8 weeks ahead of time. Soaking the seeds in water overnight will speed up germination. Sow the seeds no more than ¼ inch deep as light aids germination. They should germinate in 1-3 weeks. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle, if needed, into individual. Thin seedling or place transplants 12-24 inches apart.Native Americans have used Colorado four o’clock (Mirabilis multiflora) for dyes and medicinal properties, both in prehistoric times and modern day. The Navajos boil the flowers to make a light brown or purple color for dying wool. The Hopis used the roots of older plants to make a blood-strengthening tea for pregnant women. Teas were also made to treat colic, eye infections, muscle soreness, body swellings, rheumatism and indigestion. The Acoma and Laguna pueblo tribes dried the leaves for smoking material, and some say the plant has a sedative property. Native to Peru and cultivated for hundreds of years, this drought-tolerant plant has fragrant and colorful blooms. Named for the time of day its flowers open (give or take a couple of hours), this was a popular "passalong" plant among Southern gardeners. "Passalong" plants are often hard to find in nurseries or retail garden stores, but are "passed along" out of one gardener's yard to a friend or neighbor's. Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season.

Morning glories and most daylillies are among the first flowers to open on a summer day, and poppies, zinnias, and marigolds follow along early in the day. By noon, the morning glories have usually closed up shop. When evening comes, it’s time for the four o'clock, moonflowers, creamy-white tuberoses, and other night bloomers — many of them fragrant. Phlox, flowering tobacco, and lillies are all especially fragrant in the evening, but if you’re up early, you may also catch a whiff of them, and of your four o’clocks, on your way to work in the morning. (Plant seeds directly into the soil after all danger of frost has passed in spring, around the time you plant tomatoes. Soak seeds overnight in warm water the night before planting to hasten germination. Grow four o clocks seedlings indoors under grow lights 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date and transplant seedlings into the garden as well. Transplants will bloom earlier than direct seeded plants.Grow four o’clocks in full sun in almost any type of soil but they do best in a humus-rich, well-drained spot. Plants can be started from seed sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed or indoors up to 8 weeks ahead of time. Soaking the seeds in water overnight will speed up germination. Sow the seeds no more than ¼ inch deep as light aids germination. They should germinate in 1-3 weeks. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle, if needed, into individual. Thin seedling or place transplants 12-24 inches apart. (Source: hort.extension.wisc.edu As these are tender plants, put transplants outside after all risk of frost, about the same time you would plant tomatoes. Provide moderate moisture and fertilize periodically for the best growth. They have few pests and are not favored by deer. Tubers can be dug in the fall to store indoors and plant again in spring after the last frost. Treat the tubers like dahlias by digging them before the first freeze, shaking off the soil and storing them in dry, cool but frost-free conditions. (Source:hort.extension.wisc.edu))

 

 

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