Four O’Clock – Japanese Wonderflower

Q: I purchased some Japanese Wonderflowers, Mirabilis jalapa, at a garden show. How do I plant them? They have several “fingers” and for some reason I think they go in the ground like a carrot.

A: A root of the common four o’clock, Mirabilis jalapa, will grow just about any way you plant it. If it has a thick end, plant it uppermost. Some gardeners find that the root exhausts itself after a couple of years. However, the many seed a four o’clock scatters keep it happily reproducing from year to year. In fact, you may find yourself wondering how to eradicate the “Wonderflower” a few years hence.