I would like to plant some of these and according to the package it's about
the right time to do so. Do these seeds need to be nicked or soaked before
planting? The vague directions on the package don't say anything about this,
but I had some years ago and seem to recall that Four O'Clocks require some
intervention on my part to help them sprout.
Four O'Clock are typically grown from large seeds, making them easy to
plant. They germinate quickly, and grow fast, up to 2-4 feet.
Sow seeds directly into the garden just before the last frost in your
area. Cover seeds with 1/4" of soil. Space plants 12 inches apart and
thin to two feet apart.
In addition, Four O'Clocks are propagated by it's tubers. Tubers should
be dug up in the fall and stored in the dark, in damp peat moss or
Four O'Clocks prefer full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Note
that in partial shade they may grow lanky. They will do well in rich,
well composted soil as they are big eaters. Keep soil moist. Add a
general purpose fertilizer once or twice a month to encourage vigorous
I think you will be OK to just lay them on the ground and rake over them
lightly. My 4 O'clocks dropped the seeds each fall and they came up
volunteer the following spring. If you could duplicate that action, I
believe you will have a nice bed of them.
The problem with Four O'clocks (and morning glories) is that once you
(or your neighbors) have them they are hard to get rid of. I have not
grown them ever but every year I am constantly pulling them out because
my neighbor has them and the birds spread the seeds all over the place.
Like a lot of the hard-coated seeds (morning glories are another that comes
to mind), it does help to soak them overnight or nick them the slightest bit
before planting so the water gets inside the seed and starts germination
Suzy, Zone 5, Wis
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