QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE
1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.
2. USDA Hardiness Zones - Garden hardy in zones 8 to10; will reseed themselves in other zones.
3. Planting Distance - 2 to 3 feet apart.
4. Mature Height/Spread - 3 to 4 feet tall by second year. Will form heavy clumps within three years.
5. Bloom Time - Summer.
6. Planting Instructions - Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the bareroot tubers that look much like a small cigar. Form a small mound of dirt in the bottom of each hole and set the root straight up over the mound so that the crown of the plant will be 1½ - 2 inches below the surface of the soil after planting. Refill with soil mixture. Firm the soil with your fingers. Water thoroughly.
GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT
'Carnival Mix' Four O' Clocks (Mirabilis) are also known as the Marvel of Peru, a kaleidoscope of color in an undemanding plant for containers or for in-ground planting, in the mixed border, or grouped in colonies, wherever you want to plant them about the garden. That's why we have included ample tubers in this selection. Four O' Clocks are annual plants (perennial in Zones 8 or higher) that are no stranger to southern gardens. These are the plants that gave color to your great-grandmother's garden. Growing up to 2 1/2' tall, Four O' Clocks thrive in full sun to part shade and tolerate any soil type. In cooler areas they will re-seed themselves and come back for years of enjoyment.
Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office. These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance. See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:
1. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.
2. To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.
3. After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.
Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground. Do not allow plants in containers to dry out. In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat. You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e., in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).
Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.
Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.
Grooming - Clip off dead or unsightly growth to maintain attractive form and shape. Deadhead or remove flowers when blooms have faded, leaving as much foliage as possible. As long as the foliage remains green it will gather sunlight and transmit energy into the root system for the following growing season.
Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.
Winterizing - After frost has blackened the foliage of your perennials, you may apply a 4 to 6 inch layer of mulch. (Below zone 8 (1 to 7) this may protect the tubers. If not they will reseed and flower annually). If you want larger and more prolific clumps, place your plants along the south side of a foundation. (See note below for containers). As soon as the weather warms up in the spring remove any mulch from in-ground plantings. At the same time be sure to clean up the garden and to remove dead or damaged parts on any plants.
Containerized Plants - In northern zones, move your containers to a sheltered location, such as an unheated garage or shed, over the winter. You can also move containers to the south side of a foundation and mulch for the winter. Moving containers to such warm locations can actually increase the hardiness factor sometimes by two planting zones. You can also bury or plant either the plant itself or the entire container in the garden and mulch after the ground has frozen. As soon as the weather warms up in the spring remove any mulch from container and bring it back out into the garden sunlight where it will immediately begin to repeat its yearly garden performance.
CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.