How to Grow Mirabilis Plants

Guide to Growing Four O'clock Flower, Marvel of Peru, Umbrellawort, and Beauty of the Night

Mirabilis plants are half hardy perennials that reach from 60 cm to 1.2 m (2 to 4 feet) in height. They are usually grown as half hardy annuals in the garden.

Mirabilis bloom from summer until the end of autumn. They will only grow in warm areas that have low humidity.

Marvel of Peru
Mirabilis jalapa – Marvel of Peru by Jam343; creative commons.

When in bloom they carry trumpet shaped flowers of pink, red, or white. These come out in the evening, and have a fragrant nature.

Mirabilis jalapa
Mirabilis jalapa – Four O'clock flower by Salvatore Ingala.

Some common names for Mirabilis include Beauty of the Night, Umbrellaworts, Four-o'clock, Wishbone Bush, and Marvel of Peru.

Commonly Grown Mirabilis Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Mirabilis jalapa

Mirabilis jalapa
Mirabilis jalapa (Marvel of Peru / Four O'clock Flower), photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking; CC.

Mirabilis multiflora

Mirabilis multiflora
Mirabilis multiflora (Colorado Four O'clock), photograph by Brewbooks; CC.

Mirabilis nyctaginea

Mirabilis nyctaginea
Mirabilis nyctaginea (Wild Four o'clock / Heartleaf Umbrella Wort), picture by FickName; CC.

Mirabilis Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Four O'clock flower, Marvel of Peru, Beauty of the Night, Wishbone Bush, Heartleaf Umbrella Wort.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 6 to 50 inches (15 to 125 cm).
Native: Americas.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zones 8 to 10.

Flowers: Summer and autumn.
Flower Details: Yellow, red, white, pink; often two-toned. Deep throated trumpets. Fragrant. Flowers open in the evening.
Foliage: Green. Thin. Oval or heart-shaped.

Sow Outside: Surface. Following last frost or in autumn (warm areas). Spacing 4 to 40 inches (10 to 100 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: one to three weeks in the light. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost or in autumn.

Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 6-7. Ordinary soil. Monthly feed. Regular watering. Perennials should be cut back to the ground once flowering has finished. Propagate: dividing in the spring.
Family: Nyctaginaceae.
Miscellaneous: Mirabilis is the Latin word for amazing/wonderful.

How to Grow Marvel of Peru, Four O'clock flower, Beauty of the Night and other Mirabilis Plants in the Garden

Beauty of the Night, Four O'clock flower, and other Mirabilis plants should be sown about a week after the last frost of spring on the surface.

The plant prefers to grow in an average soil, that is slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6 to 7).

Beauty of the night can be grown both in sunny and in partially shaded areas.

If starting Mirabilis off indoors, then start about one and a half months in advance.

The seeds should be sown in peat pots and takes about one to three weeks to germinate in the light, at 20 degrees Centigrade (68°F).

Once ready, transplant the young seedlings following the last frost. Space out at from 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches, small Mirabilis) or 30 to 90 cm (1 to 3 feet, larger species) apart.

Caring for Mirabilis Plants

Once growing, it is best to water plants such as Beauty of the night regularly. It is also necessary to fertilise Mirabilis plants once a month.

Once the flowering period has finished cut the plants back to ground level. If you require more Mirabilis plants, then the tubers can be divided in the spring.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Mirabilis plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Abronia, Mesembryanthemum, Catananche, and Peruvian Lily plants.