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Beginner Gardening Questions: Broke stem off of my desert four o'clock

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pussyfoot2
Cottonwood Heights, UT
(Zone 5b)

June 15, 2013
3:22 PM

Post #9560170

Today when I was planting my Desert four O'clock, I accidentally dropped it. The whole top broke off. I went ahead and planted the root, hopefully, it will grow. Is there anything I can do with the stem and branches?



Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

June 15, 2013
6:15 PM

Post #9560330

You can try to root it just like any other sort of cutting, in water, sand or soil.
Kalloused
Orem, UT
(Zone 6b)

June 15, 2013
6:19 PM

Post #9560336

You will probably have luck rooting it. Four O'Clocks are some of the hardiest flowers out there. They remind me of weeds when it comes to their endurance of growth.
pussyfoot2
Cottonwood Heights, UT
(Zone 5b)

June 18, 2013
12:46 PM

Post #9563750

[quote="Kalloused"]You will probably have luck rooting it. Four O'Clocks are some of the hardiest flowers out there. They remind me of weeds when it comes to their endurance of growth. [/quote]

Thanks for the encouragement. Since they don't like water, I cut the plant into 3 pieces and put them in some cactus soil. I did dip the ends in some rooter stuff first. So I hope they grow. If not, I hope the root grows. If it works, I will try to remember to write up an update.

Kalloused
Orem, UT
(Zone 6b)

June 25, 2013
10:55 AM

Post #9572680

I had two Four O clocks last year and am STILL pulling sprouts out of the ground(which taught me the value of deadheading). I fixed up the side garden of our condo nicely with some new soil(tho its still a little rocky under). I took 3 of those sprouts(almost dead from the unwatered and unfed soil) and placed them in the ground and they rooted within days. they are massive, lush and healthy right now. So I'm certain you will have good luck. keep us posted
Kall

This message was edited Jun 25, 2013 11:00 AM
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

June 27, 2013
8:01 AM

Post #9575414

These plants don't like soggy conditions but are fairly thirsty plants, IME, and need good drainage but plenty of moisture. Definitely don't treat like cactus. Established plants have a large tuber to help moderate their water needs. Cuttings have no moisture reserves. Does the root you mention look kind of like a potato? I would have every expectation of it growing new foliage, flowers, if it has any size to it at all, in sufficient conditions.
pussyfoot2
Cottonwood Heights, UT
(Zone 5b)

July 25, 2013
2:51 PM

Post #9611780

Kalloused: Most Four O clocks are called garden thugs as you have discovered. However, it is my understanding that the Desert Four O'clock is not like that.

purpleinopp: After reading your message, and from what I have been able to read elsewhere, I fully expected the outcome to be as you suggested

My update:
The root died. Never even tried to come up at all. I guess it didn't have a big enough "potato" to revive without any leaves.

The biggest cutting from the top has survived, and looks great. The smallest cutting died, and the middle sized cutting is looking sad, but is not dead.

Not what I expected to happen at all.

It is very hot where I live right now. We usually have 5 days a year over 100f. However this year we have already had 16 days in a row over 100f. So I don't think it is a good time to put my cuttings in the ground.

purpleinopp: Thank you for the idea that these plants love water. They are drought tolerant only if they have they have created a good sized potato tuber. I knew about the tuber but did not realize that's what made it drought tolerant. I do have one young plant in the ground that I bought near the same time as the other one. I water it and my cuttings when they look sad. Should I water them more that that, while they are growing their tuber?
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

July 26, 2013
5:30 AM

Post #9612186

I don't water plants until they are thirsty, but it's not always easy to tell when that is. Adding unnecessary tap water is expensive, time-consuming, and a lot of plants don't like the chemicals in it. Never been to UT, so have no idea how often one would expect to water stuff there, or what the tap water might be like.

Checking in the afternoon can be deceiving since wilt can occur on a hot afternoon even if roots are moist. If your schedule permits, checking in the morning will give you a much more accurate view. If you've seen plants wilt, you should get better at noticing when they are about to wilt. Sounds silly but it's possible for a lot of plants. Actual wilt from thirst (not just temporary from heat and beating sunshine) is a lot of stress for most plants, so best avoided if possible.

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