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California Four O'clock
Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia

About California Four O'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) California Four O'Clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) is a common native perennial herb that grows in Southern and Central California, primarily in the Central Coast, the South Coast Range and South Coast regions. It tends to grow in grassy places, at elevations from 0-3300 feet. The plant form is dense and mounding, producing a large number of small brightly colored flowers ranging from pink to purple. The plant sometimes goes deciduous in the summer, leaving only winding white twigs until the next rainy season. It may retain some foliage in shady locations and with occasional summer water. It is sometime difficult to establish, but once established it require little or no attention. It spreads by runners and readily reseeds in native plant gardens.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
2.6 ft (0.8 m)

Max. Width
10 ft (3.0 m)



Growth Rate

Summer Semi-Deciduous, Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Lavender, Pink, Purple

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Grassy places, slope bottoms, dunes, dry rocky places and washes, or in the understory of taller chaparral plants

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-7' - 8177'

Annual Precip. ?
3.6" - 34.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.23"

Coldest Month ?
32.3° F - 59.4° F

Hottest Month ?
56.7° F - 87.6° F

Humidity ?
0.86 vpd - 39.72 vpd

Soil Description

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 30° F

Sunset Zones ?
8*, 9*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Works well with most chaparral and coastal sage scrub plants such as tree or Scrub Oaks (Quercus sp.), Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia), Black Elderberry (Sambuccus nigra), Manzanita species and Ceanothus species.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

The stems are fragile and break off easily. It can be pruned or sheared in late summer or early fall to restrain its spreading tendency

Common uses

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Mirabilis californica

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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