Mirabilis jalapa

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: marvel of Peru
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Native Range: Tropical America
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to frost
Bloom Description: Pink, rose, red, magenta, yellow, white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Wet Soil

Culture

Tuberous rooted tender perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11. In St. Louis, it is usually grown as a warm weather annual, though tubers may be dug in fall. It is easily grown in average, consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.

Tolerates a wide range of soils. Sow seed directly in the garden after last frost date, or start seed indoors 6-8 weeks earlier. Set out seedlings, purchased plants/tubers or overwintered tubers after last frost date. Tuberous roots may be dug in fall and stored overwinter in a barely moist medium in a cool dry corner of the basement or frost-free garage. The main advantage to digging the tubers is that plants tend to flower much better from established roots. Plants may self-seed in optimum growing conditions and have escaped gardens and naturalized in parts of the southern United States.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Mirabilis jalapa, commonly called four-o-clock or marvel of Peru, is native to Peru. It is a bushy tender perennial that typically grows to 24-36” (less frequently to 48”) tall on erect, branching stems. It is an old garden favorite that features fragrant, funnel-shaped, tubular flowers (2” long) with five flaring petal-like lobes. Flowers blooms from early/mid-summer to fall. Flowers come in pink, rose, red, magenta, yellow and white, sometimes with interesting mottling and striping. Different colored flowers often appear on the same plant. Flowers open in the late afternoon (around four o’clock) and stay open only until the following morning. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds. Ovate dark green leaves (to 4” long) are heart-shaped at the base. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.

Genus name is a Latin word meaning wonderful.

Specific epithet means of Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Attractive in groups or as a single specimen in mixed borders or beds. Patio containers. Annual hedge, though this usage was perhaps more popular in Victorian times than today.