Fat plant, Mirabilis jalapa (4'o'clock)
Sad little plant shown below was grown from seed in OH somewhere around 1996 or 1997 at my Mom's house and, being up against the basement wall on the west side, it had a suitable micro-climate to overwinter and came back reliably every year. New growth from a tuber looks completely different from a sprouting seed, no cotyledons, larger leaves, same exact spot and color of flowers every year.
Then Mom moved to AL and I dug it up. It was about the size and shape of a football (American) with the imprinted shape of the basement wall on one side. It spent time in a pot inside at my house in OH, then Mom came to visit in summer of '05 and I gave it to her to plant in her new AL yard. For some reason, she planted it under a crape myrtle tree and it's come back smaller every year. A few months ago, I decided that since I had a sunny spot I could move it to, I would move this sad plant with about a half dozen leaves. The poor tuber had shrunk to about the size of a tennis ball and this is all its' grown although that's probably understandable since it was moved at a pretty bad time. Glad whatever ate the foliage from all of the new seed-started babies didn't find this one earlier but it does look a little chewed.
I hope it's busy growing underground again and able to enlarge the tuber in its' new spot and get back to being the huge, beautiful flowering beauty it was in the past. However, if this discussion had come up prior to moving this, it might be in a pot as we speak, only partially buried. Didn't have a clue about fat plants at the time, but disturbing it again seems like the wrong thing. I just don't know, I'll be really bummed if it dies over winter after its' long, strange trip. Being a bulb/tuber type thing, it may not even notice, but I wonder if winter dormancy would actually be best or not.
What are your thoughts? Anyone else keeping one of these as a caudex/fat plant? If so, pics?