Mirabilis, Four o'Clocks, Marvel of Peru 'Limelight'

Mirabilis jalapa

Family: Nyctaginaceae (nyk-taj-i-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mirabilis (mih-RAB-ih-liss) (Info)
Species: jalapa (juh-LAP-a) (Info)
Cultivar: Limelight
Additional cultivar information:(aka Limelight Rose)
Synonym:Mirabilis jalapa subsp. lindheimeri
Synonym:Mirabilis lindheimeri




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:



36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:



Bright Yellow

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Saint David, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Elk Grove, California

Sunnyvale, California

New Haven, Connecticut

Brandon, Florida

Deland, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Waltham, Massachusetts

Roswell, New Mexico

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

Mount Orab, Ohio

Orrville, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma(2 reports)

North Augusta, South Carolina

Lafayette, Tennessee

Buckley, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Appleton, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 17, 2014, bmadsen from Waltham, MA wrote:

I've grown these beautiful flowers for the last 3 years in Waltham, MA. Originally started indoors from seed, I dig up the black tubers and replant in the spring. I've never had them self-seed. They bloom freely, and seem to be open during many parts of the day (not just after 4:00) but I haven't enjoyed any noticeable fragrance. Any suggestions?


On Oct 28, 2009, scotiagardener from Annapolis Valley,
Canada wrote:

Had excellent results growing these beautifully coloured plants.
Was very surprised by the large black tuber they created. Have dug these and stored them in above freezing conditions. Will plant again in the spring following last frost.
Has anyone had experience with this?


On Dec 2, 2008, mjsponies from DeLand/Deleon Springs, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Was given 6seeds of this variety, and the all germinated in less than a week. Have them planted in dappled shade to sun in the afternoon. Here in Central Fl in the middle of the summer they do need a bit more water. As another poster said the bugs seem to like them, but the plant didn't seem to suffer much because of that. Got a few seeds put away and will plant this spring, and hopfully will have some volunteers this spring also. Future tradelist item.


On Dec 9, 2007, rebecca30 from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Dropped 3 seeds in a pot sitting on my window sill on Dec 1st. Dec 7th I had 3 sprouted seedlings! Great! At least I know the germination time is very fast.


On Aug 14, 2006, northgrass from West Chazy, NY (Zone 4b) wrote:

I never had much success with mirabilis, but this one is doing very well for me this summer. The leaves stayed lime colored all season and the bright pink buds of the flowers make a very attrative combination. The flowers open after 6 PM here, not much of a show but the numerous buds make up for this. I started these seed early in the house as I do for most of my plants, I do not have very much luck with anything I plant in situ.


On Sep 20, 2005, staceysmom from (GayLynn) Appleton, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I also have found they do not like the hot, hot glaring sun without moisture. They will wilt. I have also found that the bugs do prefer to eat the leaves of limelight as opposed to the darker leaves of 4 O' Clock Marvel of Peru. I am growing both varieties next to each other and the contrast is very pretty. Have had great success with very large plants. I push the pea sized seeds into the ground around memorial day and have flowers by the end of June.


On Jul 6, 2005, redshiba from Snohomish County, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I had great success sowing seeds in situ this spring, it seems most all of them have germinated (great plant for kids), however I noticed only those in a great deal of sun are anything to speak of 2 1/2 months later but, unfortunately the seed company claims these can withstand dry soils...not in my experience. With dry soils and lots of direct sun they wilt considerably but bounce right back once the sun begins to set. I think ideally here in OKC zone 7a they would prefer a very bright shade location with early morning sun and adequate watering. I am impressed with the chartreuse leaf color in crontrast with the very vibrant rosey blooms...great curb appeal with lots of compliments from neighbors! These seeds are keepers.


On Sep 4, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

I planted some seeds directly in containers on my front porch Memorial Day weekend. I have never had much success with four o'clocks in our short Catskill season, and these are no exception, although the leaves are at least pretty. Our season is just too short and the weather has been extra cool and wet this year. Since we could get a killing frost any day now, and the plants are not large enough to bloom, I will try to dig tubers and overwinter them in my basement. Maybe they'll make it to next spring! I got my seeds from Franklin Hill, in PA, one of my favorite flower seed sources.


On Sep 3, 2004, uofagirl from Orrville, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I'm in zone 5/6 in central ohio and I've had lots of success with four o'clocks. Seems like I and many of my neighbors have mini microclimates.


On Mar 17, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A unique, heirloom variety; one source says it's the sole surviving color of 'Foliis-Variegatis' which was lost in the late 1800s. 'Limelight Rose' has the added interest of chartreuse variegated foliage and rosy-colored flowers.