The long, brittle, vine-like stems of California Four O’Clock love to weave themselves into the scaffolding of woodier chaparral species like buckwheats and sages, which is how you’ll most often see them in the wild.
Festooned with beautifully delicate, purple-magenta flowers, this sun-loving plant will also spill over the edge of a retaining wall or act as a part-time ground cover before it goes mostly dormant in the summer.
Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia can take the punishing heat of a southwestern exposure, but will appreciate a little shade during the hottest part of the afternoon. By July it will look fairly “dead” without any supplemental irrigation, at which point it can be pruned back hard in preparation for the “rainy season,” when it will miraculously spring back to life in a flush of rapid, new growth.