Master Gardeners Ask a Master Gardener
We found flowering shrubs at the Learning Garden that we didn’t recognize. Can someone tell us what they are?
Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)
Mirabilis means wonderful in Latin and Jalapa is the state capital of Veracruz in Mexico. This plant made its way to Spain and then to England. Thomas Jefferson grew it when it was known as Marvel of Peru.
This is a very easy plant to grow. It produces large tubers which make it a Perennial for most of our winters. It also produces lots of seeds which have a high germination rate. It will wilt but perks up after watering. Despite the wilting, it is drought tolerant. It also isn’t picky about soil.
The tubular flowers come in purple, magenta, white, yellow, pink and stripes. They open in the evening or earlier on cloudy days. Hummingbirds and moths like them.
They are excellent flowers for children or for the young at heart. The flowers only last a day, so they are great to pick for making leis or crowns.
You can find packets of seeds easily or go by the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden in Getzendaner Park in Waxahachie to see them growing. Feel free to take the seeds which are loose and black when ready to be picked.