It Grows Without Saying: Four O’Clocks, the late bloomers


R. Chadwick

Riley Chadwick

As I come home from an excruciating school day, the last thing I want to do is homework. This can be said about most teenagers these days but instead of dwelling on my seven-hour school day, I go outside to my garden.

When I come home, usually around 3-3:45 p.m. depending on if I have club meetings, my Four O’Clocks are usually ready to be picked.  These flowers are native to Peru and will bring out color against all the flowers that have already closed up for the day. 

The reason why these plants are called “four o’clocks” is not that they have an internal clock; it’s because they bloom when there are changes in sunlight and temperature. They are perfect for a 5-minute break from everything to go and collect the seeds.

These plants hold the seeds in order to reseed themselves. They create a cushion for the seeds as they develop over time. 

These plants will add some color to your yard because most plants bloom early and will close up around the afternoon, unlike the Four O’Clocks’ flowers, which bloom later in the day. 

Four O’Clocks can be many different colors such as purple, yellow, pink, multicolored, or two-toned.

R. Chadwick

These flowers prefer over 70 degrees Fahrenheit and are perfect for the summer in Illinois due to how hot it can get. 

To get the most out of the flowers, plant them in early spring so they can start growing and last until the first frost.

They are perfect if you have deck planter baskets because they have a faint fragrance that also attracts moths and hummingbirds.

These perennials tend to grow to 2-3 feet in height and are heat- and drought-tolerant plants. They do not need supervision all the time but should be fertilized every month and frequently watered so they get enough nutrients.