Four o'clock question

zzackey(8b GA)October 20, 2013

Someone gave me a Four o'clock plant in a pot. Can I leave it in the pot for the winter? Will it survive a freeze?

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I am in 9b and my four o'clock dies back during the winter and comes back every year. I have unusual varieties: Salmon and Broken colors. I collect the seeds and grow myself some extras anyway. If you are ever coming to the Orlando area, let me know, will share some plants. I think you would like Broken Colors, each flower is a crazy combination of different colors.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Dawn, do you ever see butterflies or hummingbirds visit your Four O'Clocks?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Another question: Does Broken Colors really have scent? Some of the four o'clocks I've seen that are touted as scented really aren't, so I was wondering.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 12:17PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Does anyone else have a hard time getting 4 o'clocks to germinate? I have some seeds and heck if I can get them to start lol. I'd really like to grow some. Anyone have any tricks? I tried soaking and nicking the seed coats.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 3:41PM
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I have noticed that the unusual varieties don't have scent. My salmon colored one also has a poor sense of timing, it opens at 6 pm, so I haven't seen pollinators attracted to it. I grow the seeds in pots of seed starter mix. I have tried straight in the ground, but not very successful with that method. For plants that are supposed to be pests, they really aren't.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 4:30PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I just want to know if it will survive the winter in a pot!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 4:46PM
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My grandmother grew four o'clock in NJ, but she grew them in the ground. Maybe you should plant them, so they can come back in the spring, after dying back for the winter.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Mine in the ground usually come back so yours in the pot should be fine. I'd still take precautions with freezing temps though.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 7:59PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

That's why I asked the question! I am unable to plant anything.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Sorry then I can't help you, I've never grown them in a pot through the winter. I know when we had those two cold winters plants in a pot froze, when the ones in the ground didn't. Do you have a garage or warm porch you could keep them in for the winter?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:44AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

The CW is that they're hardy to Z7b, so as long as it's not soggy or sitting completely exposed, very likely to survive. Do you have a corner where you could cover the pot with leaves? I overwinter hardy potted plants next to compost bucket (55 gallon drum with hole in bottom) under leaves. I figure there might be some heat from the compost, the leaves help deflect some of the water when it rains, and it's always extremely well drained near a compost pile or bin on the ground.

Another option would be storing the tubers after frost, in a cool dry place, like one would with Cannas, Glads, Colocasia (elephant ears) up north.

Folks also keep these inside, as 'fat plants.' Might need a bit of a trim first. Do you have a pic? Has your plant made some seeds? Winter-sowing some of them might be good insurance, though you might be understandably attached to a particular color that you have now, or have one with great fragrance. You never know what you'll get from seeds.

My Mom had these at her house in Z5 that came back every year against the basement wall. When she moved, I dug up the pretty pink one she loved so well and it was as big as a football with the imprint of the basement wall on one side. There are many reports of these finding suitable microclimates and behaving as perennials in Z5.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:15AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Since it hasn't been mentioned, for the benefit of anyone who isn't aware, four o'clocks can be very aggressively invasive. They spread both by underground tuber and by seed so they are hard to control. In my old neighborhood, one neighbor had them everywhere and they were spreading into other yards. They are very pretty but if you have them, you will have them all over.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 4:38PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I got it in a swap and it hasn't bloomed. If I can get hubby to plant it I will. Where I want to plant it, we have no neighbors. I don't mind it spreading. Less grass to mow and I can see it out my window. Thanks everyone for your advice.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:41PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Zackey, they are really, really pretty. My left hand had to fight my right hand to throw some away that someone gave me. Since you have the room, I think you will love them! They bloom nonstop and are very reliable.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:27PM
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Carol, I'm glad you mentioned how aggressive Four O'Clocks are - I was about to. Mine are hacked back every time the back yard is mowed. Less than a week later, they're all over the place and blooming their silly heads off. I plan to dig up as much of the huge bulbus roots as I can, as soon as the weather is consistantly cool.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 6:05PM
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I have pulled out many seedlings as well, since I don't often get a frost being in S Fl. I am thinking of pulling out the mother plants as well now, to try to make my garden easier to take care of.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Not only will the tubers spread but they can get massive, as in you will not be able to dig them back out. I would also suggest a pot, they should be fine as they will die back in the winter anyways.

Another thing to keep in mind is that they don't bloom during the day so unless you have white ones you won't really see them at night from your window.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Don't plant them in a clay pot, and put them in a pot about 3 times the size you think they need. The tubers will crack clay pots when they outgrow the pot, and they get very large, very fast, so put them in a huge pot for the size of the root.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Yes, they grow fine in pots. My mother grew some that way, and a volunteer came up in another pot containing a small rose bush/plant (really wasn't much of a bush). It eventually dominated the rose plant and my mother said to take it home with me because she didn't want to fool with it. I planted the Four O'clock in a spot that is surrounded on all four sides (pool equipment pad, sidewalk, pool deck, and side of house), and it's as happy as can be, but contained. Perfect for the spot, and perfume wafts across the pool area if the wind is right. But it does die off and the bed is barren in winter.

The rose plant didn't make it.

This post was edited by TheTradition on Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 9:37

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 9:30AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Beware that they do easily spread by seeds, as well as tubers. Don't want anyone to get a bad surprise.

Happy Belated Halloween, everyone!

Carol in Jacksonville

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 1:07PM
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