When Four O’Clocks aren’t Four O’Clocks

This morning I was outside before the sun came up — I needed to water before it got too hot to be outside — and I noticed that my wild four o’clock plant had buds.

I came inside and set my alarm for four o’clock so that I wouldn’t miss the blossomed flower. When the alarm went off, I braved the heat (105˚ F), but alas, no flower.

Aha! Daylight savings time! Maybe the four o’clock plant is now a five o’clock plant! It’s five o’clock as I write this, so I peeked out the window, and still no blooms.

According to a couple of articles I stopped to read, the plant won’t flower in the heat, so it waits for the temperature to cool off a bit, which means it could be a seven o’clock or even an eight o’clock plant. Or it might not flower at all. In fact, although I got the plant almost three years ago, this is the first year it even came up, so I’m grateful for that, anyway.

Luckily, the heat will break tonight, and next week will be considerably cooler, with some highs in the eighties and some around ninety. Most days even come with a possibility of rain.

I am so looking forward to a bit of cool. The searing sun is not at all pleasant. The only things I know that appreciate the heat are tomatoes. And zinnias.

It’s funny to think that not that long ago I was thinking the cold would never end, and lately I’ve been thinking the heat will never end. (Just because the seasons have always changed doesn’t mean that they always will.) Luckily, if the weather forecasters have any credence (which up to now, I haven’t seen much of that), it will cool down for a few days anyway.

Then, perhaps, my four o-clocks will bloom.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

2 Responses to “When Four O’Clocks aren’t Four O’Clocks”

  1. Uthayanan Says:

    Pat please tell me who has decided it is a four o’clock plant ! (With time change) Simply with observation.
    I have received last fall three flowers plants and The person gave me said that you will get some flowers during the winter. I was very pleased.
    But I can get flowers from theses plants from winter, spring, and with hot summer.
    Still I didn’t note the name of these plants plant and to check with it’s behavior.
    I feel some plants can adapt if there is no severe cold or hot weather and they can survive.
    All my bamboos in big pots were survived during 6.8 Fahrenheit.
    Like some banana trees can survive normal Paris winter.
    During my walk if I can find a gardener I am going to ask.
    Honestly I am afraid of summer heat. The climate going to make plants crazy like human beings.
    Sooner or later you are going to get your four o’clock flowers.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s the name of the plant — wild four o’clock. It was named that because the flowers open in the afternoon after it cools down, rather than in the morning like other plants.

      The past couple of summers weren’t so hot, so maybe next summer will not be as hot, either. Oddly, the winter was colder than normal, too. Strange year.

      I’m glad your plants are doing well!

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