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Four O'Clock, High Tea Mix

Short Description

Reminiscent of grandmother's garden.

Full Description

High Tea has an old-fashioned look in solid shades of rose, red and white. Plant in average, well-drained soil after last frost, and this annual will reward you with a summer full of colors.
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Order: 1 Pkt. (40 seeds)
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Product properties

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

24 inches

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

10-12 inches

Ornamental Use Ways in which the product may be used in the garden for ornamental effect.

Beds, Borders, Container

Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year; biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year; perennials can live for more than two years.


Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.

Direct Sow/Indoor Sow

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How to Sow and Plant

Four O’Clocks may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden after frost.

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before frost in spring using a seed starting kit
  • Sow evenly and thinly and cover with ½ inch of seed starting formula.
  • Firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-10 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Thin to one seedling per cell when they have two sets of leaves.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Sowing Directly in the Garden:

  • Direct sow seeds in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost.
  • Prepare the soil by removing weeds and working organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
  • Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season.
  • Sow seeds about 6 inches apart and cover with ½ inch of fine soil.
  • Firm soil lightly with your hand, water and keep evenly moist.
  • Seedlings will emerge in 7-10 days.
  • Thin to stand 12-18 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches high.
  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For annuals an organic mulch of shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
  • After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Four O’Clocks tend to prefer poor soils so do not overfertilize.
  • Remove spent flower heads to keep plants flowering until fall. Leave some on at the end of the season to allow the plant to self-sow.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
  • Four O’Clock flowers only open in the afternoon, around 4:00. They make poor cut flowers because they may not remain open.
  • Good for children to grow, since they are colorful, easy to plant, and fast growing.
  • Plants often self-sow, so allow some spent flowers to go to seed.
  • The roots form tubers that may be dug up and stored over the winter.
  • Shorter varieties are fine for containers.
  • Plants are heat and drought tolerant.
Full Sun
24 inches
10-12 inches
Ornamental Use
Beds, Borders, Container
Life Cycle
Sow Method
Direct Sow/Indoor Sow
Bloom Duration
10 weeks
Flower color
Red, White
Four O'Clock, High Tea Mix is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 7.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very pretty, but little smell These are very elegant four o'clocks; the flowers are beautiful. However, I mostly grow four o'clocks for the smell, and while these do have the distinctive, almost tropical smell of four o'clocks, it's much fainter than other varieties. I'll be switching back to Marbles Mix next year, which has a much stronger smell.
Date published: 2019-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fragrant flowers These flowers remind me of my childhood days back in Morocco where my grandfather grew them in his little garden. I loved their fragrance and played with their seeds. I started them from seeds back in April and had 100% germination rate then I transplanted them to the border of my house they took forever to grow and they just started blooming in early August. I highly recommend that you try them for their gorgeous look and attractive scent. They are easy to grow and don't require much maintenance expect staking them. I will keep growing them every year as a souvenir from my childhood.
Date published: 2017-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! These four o clocks had great germination rates, and produced very pretty flowers. They were still going through November, and were surprisingly very hardy in my greenhouse during temperatures ranging from mid 30s to 85! I would highly recommend these flowers to anybody.
Date published: 2014-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Four O'Clocks High Tea Mix... Gorgeous Show! I have purchased these several times and always have great results. The big seeds are easy to handle, in fact they're so big that even kids can plant these easily and then just water when they start to look dry and just watch them grow. I have started in small pots and transplanted with success, but they seem to be happiest just planted right in the ground after it warms just a little. You will be rewarded with bushy plants and blooms that can be seen all the way to the road. They open long before 4 o'clock every day and the combination of colors compliment one another very well. They get a little tall so I generally plant them in the middle to back of my flower bed and then put shorter plants in front. Two years ago, I pulled a few out at the end of the fall, cut the tops off and saved the root and about two inches of stem that was above the ground. I let them dry until the dirt around them wasn't moist anymore, then put them in a brown paper bag in my basement and in the spring, I pulled them out and put in pots (the way you would with geraniums). I had about half of them come back and they made really nice big plants quickly. I forgot to pull them up last fall, so I'll be starting out with just seeds again this year but looking forward to seeing those first shoots pop out of the ground.
Date published: 2013-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Started out great... But then my husband accidentally took the weed whip to them. He chopped them down to about 2 inches, but they came right back and looked great. I didn't get any blooms, but with a haircut like that, I understand it put them way behind. These are very easy to start from seed in the garden. I have some seed left over and I'm going to try again, making sure to point out to my husband where all the DO NOT CUT plants are!
Date published: 2009-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from easy! These were very easy to grow and I had better success planting them in the ground than in containers. While they did okay in containers, they were huge when planted in the ground/garden. Beautiful and lasted well into the fall.
Date published: 2008-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great easy flower! I direct-sowed these after the frost. They took a little while to get going because we had a really cold spring and I didn't have them in full sun. But once they did, they were beautiful, with lots of shiny dark leaves and pretty blossoms everywhere. They're very bushy; they almost overshadowed my marigolds, so give them room to grow. Also very disease-resistant; i had a real problem with powdery mildew the year I grew these, but i didn't lose a single one of these plants. They're very hard to pull out in the fall though, with huge woody roots. Who knows, they might winter over in a milder climate. All in all a beautiful flower I will grow again when i get a bigger garden!
Date published: 2007-02-20
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