Four O’clock Plant – Control

Q: What is the best method to remove four o’clocks. My ex-wife thought it would be a grand idea to have them around. Five years later they are taking over everywhere! When should I dig the tubers? Or is there a spray I can use?

A: Rural families throughout the South have appreciated four o’clocks, Mirabilis jalapa, for more than two hundred years.

Pretty pink/yellow/red flowers adorn the shrub from early summer until frost. The roots are perennial in most parts of Georgia and the seed germinate readily. What’s not to like?

Well, as anyone who has grown them will testify, four o’clocks, once established, are the very devil to get rid of. I have a tuber in my flower garden from which I have snapped the lanky stems for two years. Yet it comes back each spring, gaily asking, “Hey, I’m back. Did you miss me?”

I think the only option is to dig any tubers you can find and spray all emerging sprouts with herbicide each spring.

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