4 O'Clocks blooms are never open?

strouper2July 25, 2007

I have several 4 O'Clocks that I WSed and they've had blooms for a long time but they're almost never open. This is my 1st year with 4 O'Clocks and they look great when they're open, they're just covered with blooms, but very seldom does this happen. Can anyone think of a reason for this or is it just the nature of the plant. I was thinking about cutting all the blooms off just to see what would happen. Does that sound like a good idea?


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Mine usually bloom around four o'clock in the afternoon :o)

Seriously though, they're a bit like daylilies, the bloom only lasts one day, and they don't bloom until late afternoon for me.

I wouldn't cut off the blooms, as I doubt that you would get regrowth at this time of the season.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:08PM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

Mine bloom at night....sometimes if it is an overcast day, they will stay open until the sun comes out....

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:15PM
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My first time too and mine haven't bloomed at all! I have found a few earwigs hiding where the buds form and see they have been chewed! Thought I was red of them forever...YEAH RIGHT!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

All I can do is scout them and pinch'em in half....no, I'm not squimish a bit LOL!


    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 4:15PM
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Strouper, I see that your zone is 6 but that doesn't really tell me much since the zones meander all over. But it does say that you are north of me and that means your summer days are longer. Maybe the blooms are reacting to light level when they open and close and, if so, you may just be getting too much light to get much open bloom time.

Mine also open in the evening - usually around 6 p.m. - and they stay open all night and for a short while early in the morning. I can still enjoy them before I leave for work and on weekends if I'm up and out in time.

By the way, have you noticed their lovely fragrance? Yum!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Hello Linda I live in northern KY just across the river from Cincy, OH. Yes I have noticed the smell & it is very nice. The little blooms are so pretty I just wish that they were open more often. I'm never home in the evening and it's usually 8 AM or later by time I'm out of bed so I must just be missing them & oh what a shame. I didn't realize that their name pertained to their blooming time DUH. They were so easy to WS and mine grew like weeds, they are 3 feet tall or bigger, I just wish I could enjoy the blooms more. They got much bigger than I expected so next year I'm going to plant much fewer of them.

VERA: I was complaining about the same thing a few weeks ago and was told that they are late bloomers and it looks like you are further north than I am so maybe it just hasn't been long enough yet.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 6:01PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

My 4-O'Clocks here in MN, from wintersowed seed this year are COVERED with buds just now- I am excited to come home every evening to see if maybe tonight will be the night.....
The neighbor I gave the wintered over black basketball sized root to has not mentioned them blooming yet...
It is hard to be patient sometimes...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 7:30PM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

Mine were in bloom this morning, at about 6am. Last year, I see them open between 6pm and 8pm (towards dusk). Never at 4 O'Clock...:-)


(Vera! the earwigs....EWwwwwwwwwwwwww!)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:00PM
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Well, I hope I'm not hijacking but here is one of mine...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 11:18PM
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They have flowerbuds, but from the looks of it the earwigs are eating and damaging them. Time to start trapping again....lil' suckers


    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 10:47AM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Funny thing-
I went out to look at my 4-O'Clocks after posting above- and there were 2 plants in bloom! A robust scarlet as above- and a broken colored magenta/pink/white- and yesterday evening- a white solid and magenta/pink solid joined in!
I am hoping one will be an orange/yellow/pink broken color....
Keep the faith- yours will bloom too!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 7:32AM
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This is my first year with them, and they are blooming in the evening. Across the street, there is a huge patch of them that have gone to seed. The seeds are black! Is that right? Or is there something wrong with them?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 9:12AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

Yes, the seeds are black. They are so cute...they look like little bombs :-)


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 8:29AM
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Are the four oclocks poisonous to any other bugs besides the Japs? - I have lots of holes in my leaves, but no dead bugs nearby


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 9:25AM
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Congrats Julie!!

I believe I'll be getting my first buds this afternoon! Finally finally I see buds with color....looks like these will be the fushia ones. There's also some white and pink out there somewhere :D


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 10:22AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I didn't winter sow my 4 oclocks and I started them late. So I am not expecting bloom yet. I am pretty sure mine were earlier last year. Only one pot of them is just starting to form buds. I can't wait for mine to bloom. I loved mine last year. I would enjoy them at night, just walking through the garden, mostly looking for earwigs, vera. [g] I had one variety that I could smell 25 feet away. Love the way they produce seeds too. :-)

Oh, and vera...thanks, I didn't know they liked 4 oclocks. If earwigs usually like them, then I guess I don't have that many this year. I was overrun with them last year, but this year hasn't been too bad. Actually we are really low on every kind of bug this year for some reason. Last year, I would go out with a flashlight and a cup of warm soapy water and just knock them into the cup and put out rolled newspapers for them as traps. They started munching on the petals of my dahlias this year and I went out a few nights and just found a couple that were camping out in the petals. Once I got rid of those, I haven't seen any more damage.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 3:08PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Just got these pics yesterday of my broken colors. They had been blooming with just a couple of flowers at a time. Finally one is just blooming and blooming now.

Interesting that 4 plants are all the same colors from the seeds and they have no scent unless you stick your nose right into the flower, but I love the these anyways

Then to my surprise, this one started to bloom last night.
So nice to have a different set of flowers from the broken colors.

One of the yellow and fushia also bloomed like this last week all on the same stem.

PM2, waiting for buds on those strong scented 4 o'clocks you sent me seeds of.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 4:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Okay Fran, inquiring minds want to know. What are you feeding those plants...steroids?! lol Really, they are so full and bushy, how many plants per container did you put in? Are you fertilizing or just growing in MG potting soil? Really looking lush and how is it no critter or insect damage on the leaves?

Glad you did get plants Fran, and hope they will be true to seed. I don't remember if I started any of my own this year or not. I had a few different colors to start so I can't remember, what I did. lol Yes, let me know when they bloom if they are fragrant.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 4:20PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

No steroids PM2. They are in 12 inch pots with miracle grow potting mix. 2 seedlings in a pot. When I plant them in the ground they do barely anything.
This year I tried an experiment. Dug huge hole the size of a 12 inch pot in diameter and depth and filled it with miracle grow potting mix. Then put in the seedlings, 2 in the hole. What do I have? Nothing put tiny little runts.
And my grandma grew a huge bush from one seedling growing in a whiskey barrel full of beach sand.

The critters don't bother the 4 0'clocks and I do have some holes from the JP's on them, but I have more dead JP's on top of the soil than I have holes in the leaves. Have some plants in pots around my malva and the JP are leaving the malva alone too and the roses.

Remember those leaves of the 4 o'clock are poison to the JP and they are dumb enough to eat them. I love, as they say, "killing 2 birds with one stone", only I'm getting more than 2. Enjoying the 4 o'clocks, saving the malva's and the roses and killing the JP. get get better than that.

Will let you know how true to seed the 4 oclocks are when they bloom. I sure hope they are fragrant as they are in a pot right by the front door and the back door.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 4:35PM
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Fran -

Are they THAT poisonous that they drop dead on the spot?
I have holes in mine, but no dead bugs... Is it possible they can fly a bit and then drop - although I don't see any dead ones around. (I don't think birds like them, but that's a possibility - although I think they are a bit "crunchy" for the birds...)


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 5:38PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Carrie, I find the JP dead on top of the soil in the pots the 4 o'clocks are in, around the soil on the ground and several other areas fairly close to the 4 o'clocks. So I would say they can fly off alive and die further away. On the other hand the ones that I have found in the pots and on the ground beside the pots just might so dumb that they keep chewing on the leaves and die on the spot.

I haven't been outside to check on things today, lots of real humid air, off and on thunder and rain. will try and get some picks of the JP in the pots, first chance I get.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 5:48PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

here's a pic of one of the 4 o'clocks with leaves eaten by japanese beetles. no dead ones around today, but no JP at all either

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 9:08PM
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This is the 1st time I've tried them since my grandmother had them. I'm in southcentral PA and mine don't open til 7-8 pm. I've never had japanese beetles, but I do now, chewing the heck out of them. When can you pick the seeds from them for next year?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 9:58PM
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thanks, fran - such a great help. I hope my holes are from the Jap Beetles - what a wonderful plant for next year.

Since I picked off at least 200 a day from over a month - no exaggeration - I can't wait to see if next year I have less (provided my four oclocks germinate early).

Thanks, again


    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 11:34PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Jeff, after the flower falls off, keep an eye on that spot. you will start to see a round area form and what looks like tiny leaves covering it. That's the seed forming
where the flower was. It will be green at first and slowly start to darken. When it is black those "small leaves" will pull back from the ripe seed so it can fall out on the ground. Try and get the seeds before they land on the ground, but if the land there, just pick them up and bring them in the house and let them dry. They will shrivel up a little, but not much.

You can also save the tuber that the 4 o'clock makes as well and plant it again next year. I've never bothered because they are so easy to grow from seed.

Watch and see if you start to find dead JP around the plants. Sure bet you do.

Carrie, I can believe it, the number of JP in your yard. My neighbor was crying to me about her roses being destroyed and she was hysterical about the beauty that her husband gave her before he passed away. I gave her one of my pots of 4 o'clocks and she hasn't had a problem with the JP since last week. Just lots of dead ones near the rose bush and the 4 o'clock plant.

I put my seeds out on 4/25/07 and they germinated 5/13, all of them. I'm in zone 5 massachusetts, so I would think you would put your's out earlier than I do. When I actually WS them during the winter, for some reason they took longer to germinate than when I put them out towards the end of April.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 12:04AM
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Nancy zone 6

The 1st year I had 4 o'clocks, it seemed they didn't open up til dark. Mine have overwintered in ground though every year since, & it seems that they are in bloom much, much longer now , maybe because the tubers are fully mature? I didn't really care much for them the first year, but I don't think I would be without them now.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 2:23PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I see buds on mine. Can't wait! I tried to do more this year than last year, but I didn't winter sow them and had to direct sow them in the spring. I got them going late. Some of them were direct planted into a mostly shady container and it took longer to germinate. The one in more sun has buds and is larger. So, what is the fastest way to get them to germinate and will they really winter sow? I am determined to have more next year..lol.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 6:04PM
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I see lots of holes, but no dead bugs. I looked all around, several feet on the ground, but no dead beetles. Is this a sure thing? Are the beetles really attracted to these plants? I hope it works!


    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 7:19PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Carie, it is a sure thing, whether you see the beetles dead around the plants or not. My grandmother grew over 100 different varieties of roses and her 4 o'clocks kept the JP away for 50 years. I've been doing it for 30 years and no problem with them.

Here are 2 links for you to check it out


Some new pics of my 4 oclocks


pics in pots.

3 seedlings in a 12 inch pot

1 seedling in a 10 inch pot

This is a pic of one seedling in a 10 inch pot that decided to get creative on it's own in growth. Beside it is a seedling in the ground. both seedlings where the same size when I planted them.

this was planted a month ago, one seedling in a pot and the other in the ground. They where the same size when planted.

another seedling that was planted a month ago.

Guess the "steroid" is miracle grow potting mix.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 11:33PM
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I ws-ed some four-oclocks this year, and they were covered with buds, but I never saw an open flower. I even went out at night with a flashlight to check them, but nothing !
I finally yanked them. A friend gave me two of her plants that are doing great, but no buds yet. We'll see.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 11:59PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

I might be way off base here, but based on last year, it seemed to me that the hotter the weather, the later the flowers opened in the evening. It seemed to be not only length of daylight but also temperature. In severe heat, like the 90s, sometimes they didn't open until 7 or 8 p.m.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 6:36AM
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I am doing exactly what you did this year. I have plenty of pots and I am going to sow seeds in those pots and put them all around my yard.

I know it is supposed to work after googling four oclocks and poison and your experience also tells me it does,but it would sure be fun to actually SEE those dead beetles! Next year, I am going to try this experiment and report my findings - - If I had to pick off hundreds per day, you can be sure I will have lots next year too. Wish me luck - can't wait to try this.

Fran, you are so inspiring. Thanks


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 8:01AM
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Correction: NEXT year, that is, for sowing lots of pots of four oclocks. LOL - I can hardly wait to see what happens!!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 8:55AM
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Hooray!! I got my first bloom this morning...well actually yesterday but didn't see it until just now :D

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:37AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

hehe how funny! Glad the mystery was solved. I love these plants. Grow and volunteer themselves everywhere! Even in the lawn!!!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:45AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I didn't see this when it was first posted, but my experience was not good. WS'd them for the first time last year, got lots of buds throughout August but no flowers. I also went out with a flashlight at nithing but nothing, and I had to really get up close to get the fragrance. I got open flowers one day in early September when it was overcast. I love these plants though, and I will re-try this year, some in pots, and some in a location that gets only late afternoon sun. I also have received some 'broken colours' in a trade - will be interesting to see what they are like.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 3:52AM
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Don't give up northerner! :) For years I have drooled over my neighbour's 4 o'clocks......she has huge ones that come back every year (The plant is up against the house so the tuber overwinters) and also the seeds produce hundreds of new seedlings every year. She rips them out all the time.
I on the other hand, have struggled for years, to try and grow them......seeds from her and also transplants (they don't do well as transplants), but finally last year I was successful! I had several all over my yard. I just kept planting seeds every year even though they would only grow half heartedly and never flower, until they finally just grew.....not huge lush plants, but not a bad show either. I had fucshia, yellow, light pink and fucshia/yellow bicolour. I would really love to get some white seeds though.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 8:24AM
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I have some plants in a pot and some in the ground. Both are full of buds, mainly yellow, even though they are multi-colored. The buds just don't seem to open. We have had very hot temps, high 90's and didn't think they would bloom then. The weather turned much cooler during the day so thought that might trigger them to open. I've watched them on cloudy days...still just many buds. The only time I have not looked at them is in the middle of the night. So maybe that is when they are being so beautiful. I check in the morning when I leave for work about 6:30..buds no blooms. Should I set the alarm for 4:00 am and check on them?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 3:02PM
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Yep, I've had the same issue as well. My four o'clock plant is yellow and rarely opens. The only times I've seen a couple opened was around 7:00 in the morning. I keep forgetting to check earlier around 6:00 to see if more are open at that time. My four o'clocks do get more shade in the morning than the evening where they're located, so perhaps that's something to do with it.

I have a few more four o'clock seedlings I waited too long to plant out, so they're still small. Perhaps they'll get a chance to bloom by the end of summer.

I snuck up on my four o'clock and snapped this picture one morning while I had a chance:

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:13AM
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lemecdutex(z15 CA Petaluma)

I do enjoy 4 o'clock blooms, especially the fragrance, but where I grew up in Texas they were somewhat of a pest! Not only did the tubers live forever (and heck to dig up if you had too many), but it seems every single seed sprouts a new plant! I put one next to a chicken pen one year, it got 8 feet tall and the top of the tuber was about 10 inches across! The stems at the base were over 2 inches wide!

One thing I remember is that when they start dying down, they fall apart at every joint, and leave a clean scar at the top of the tuber.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 3:23PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

It is dusk outside and my four o'clocks are blooming. They are all yellow with red veining. Very pretty. I only planted one. Next year I will sow more. Maybe I will have a long row at the top of my annual bed.

Have also seen them blooming very early in the morning.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:26PM
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floodthelast(5 N. OH)

Mine are in front of my west facing house and bloom in the shade everyday till noon when the sun hits them. After that they don't bloom again until dusk. I have a nice shaded back yard and intend to grow more next year. I expect lots of nice bloom there too.

right now I have fucia and some bi colored white/fucia. I can't wait to save the seeds and plant more. I have been trading for more colors too.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 8:08AM
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I have had 4 o clocks every year for the past 9 years! I started with pure yellow ones for the first 4 years, but picked up some purple seeds from my friends house. Now i have broken orange/yellow/purple ones! They reach up to 3 feet high with flowers EVERYWHERE.
I've never seen white ones, anybody mind pasting some pictures?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 3:13PM
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floodthelast(5 N. OH)

These are from last year but they are gorgeous this year too.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 9:48PM
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