Desert Four O’Clock (Mirabilis multiflora)

Native Plant Profile:

In the Intermountain West high deserts and in southwestern states, Desert 4 O’Clock is an amazing herbaceous perennial plant. It seems to spring up from nowhere in early summer and grow into a large showy mass of long blooming one inch magenta flowers. This plant is very drought and cold tolerant making it a great choice for the xeriscape perennial garden.

Take care to plant Desert Four O’Clock in well-drained soil. Once established, Four O’Clock usually grows 18–24 inches tall and about 2-5 feet wide and needs little to no additional water.

Four O’Clock dies back to the ground every year making it difficult to locate in the spring if not marked with a stake or flag.  It also grows from a large tuber making it next to impossible to transplant so choose your site well!

Desert Four O’Clock’s natural distribution is southern California, northern Mexico, Nevada, and Utah and may be found in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

FACT SHEET: Desert Four O’Clock

Close up picture of magenta Desert Four O'Clock flowers
Desert Four O’Clock in Bloom
Photo credit: Bryant Olsen
Flickr CC BY –NC 2.0

Map of the United States showing (in green) the states where Desert Four O'Clock naturally occiurs
USDA Plant Distribution Map for Desert Four O’Clock

Other common names for Desert Four O’Clock include: Colorado Four O’ Clock, Maravilla, Showy Four O’ Clock, & High Desert Four O’Clock.

Susan Buffler – Cache County Master Gardeners, Utah