The origin of the name miracle flower probably comes from the fact that it can have flowers of different colors at the same time. With brightly colored yellow, pink, red, white or often two-tone flowers, the miracle flower provides a colorful play of colors throughout summer and into autumn. At the tips of the shoots, the inflorescences form approx. 3 to 7 flowers during the entire vegetation phase.

Subtropical origins and an interesting botanical relationship

The exact origin of the miracle flower is unknown, but it is certain that in its natural environment – probably in Central America – there is a subtropical climate. The miracle flower Mirabilis jalapa belongs to the genus of the miracle flowers (botanical name: Mirabilis), which in turn belongs to the family of the miracle flower plants (botanical name: Nyctaginaceae). This means that the wonder flower is more closely related to Bugainvilleas.

The wonder flower loves sunny locations in the garden, on the balcony and in the apartment
Places that get full sun come into question as a location for the wonder flower. Wonder flowers are suitable both as plants for beds and for planting in pots. In addition, they can be kept outdoors as well as indoors. Because they can also be cultivated in pots or in flower boxes, they are also suitable for beautifying balconies and terraces. When the miracle flower has overwintered twice, it reaches a height and a diameter of approx. 1.20 meters. When choosing the location, you should therefore consider the space required by the wonder flower. If you choose the location for older plants that have overwintered two or three times more often, you can assume a space requirement of one square meter and more per plant.

An easy-care plant

The ongoing care of the miracle flower requires relatively little effort. Nevertheless, you should only take care of the plant if you are well informed or have appropriate experience. This is especially true if you care for the miracle flower as a houseplant. The plant needs maintenance, especially regular watering and fertilization. However, you should dose the fertilizer and the irrigation water correctly in order to offer the plant optimal growth conditions.

Fertilizing provides welcome nutrients

The soil in the bed, tub or flower box should be rich in nutrients. Therefore you should start with regular fertilization after the first new shoots have formed on the miracle flower in spring. During the further growth phase and the flowering period of the miracle flower, the plant should then receive a sufficient dose of flower fertilizer once a month. A commercially available flower fertilizer is sufficient to promote growth and flower formation. However, the miracle flower is not fertilized during the wintering phase.

Proper pouring is important

During the growth phase, the miracle flower needs daily watering. However, too much water will damage you in the flowering phase. Extensive watering is therefore only recommended in hot weather and otherwise it is sufficient if normal soil moisture is provided. In order to prepare the plant well for wintering, the watering is reduced after the flowering phase has ended.

Cutting is rarely required

The wonder flower does not need a formal cut. Only faded plant material should be removed regularly, as it stimulates the flower to bloom even more intensely. If you want to let the wonder flower hibernate outdoors, the above-ground part of the plant is cut off as close to the ground as possible so that the frost protection can connect as close as possible to the tuber remaining in the ground.

Winter conditions for the frost-sensitive tubers

The miracle flower is a perennial plant and forms tuber-like roots, with the help of which it can overwinter in its subtropical and therefore frost-free environment. In the northern latitudes of Central Europe, however, it is not considered winter hardy. Nevertheless, perennial miracle flowers usually survive brief frosts of down to minus five degrees Celsius and particularly strong plants can even overwinter in the bed if they are well protected against the effects of heavy frosts. As a rule, however, you will decide to let the bulbs of the miracle flower overwinter in a frost-proof place.

Indoor overwintering of the wonder flower

Compared to sowing the seeds again, overwintering the whole plant is very time-consuming. This is mainly due to the difficult digging up of the roots, because their large, deep-reaching tuber often means that you cannot get them out of the ground in one piece. Annual plants are still relatively easy to get out of the ground because their tubers are only a few centimeters in size. But even during the first hibernation, the tubers grow about threefold. The roots of well-cared for plants are also relatively large and have very deep roots. The tuber of a perennial wonder flower can be 10 centimeters in diameter as early as the third year and go half a meter deep into the ground. However, overwintering the tubers has the advantage

For indoor overwintering, the tubers of the miracle flower are freed as much as possible from the soil after they have been excavated. The tubers are then covered with potting soil in boxes or in plant pots and stored in a dark, frost-free place.

  • The best winter temperature for the tubers is five to ten degrees Celsius.
  • The ball of the pot only needs to be kept moist during the rest of the wonder flower in winter to protect the roots from drying out.
  • From February the tubers must be warm and light again.
  • After the last frost, the bulbs of the miracle flower can be planted out again.

Leave the plant to overwinter in the bucket

There are no problems with preparing the wonder flower for the whole plant to overwinter if you keep the wonder flower in the bucket. There is no need to laboriously dig up the tubers for the winter. It is then sufficient to cut the plant back to the tuber and to let it overwinter in the bucket in a frost-free room. After the winter and the last period of frost, you can simply put a miracle flower planted in the tub outside again.

Propagation with seeds as an overwintering substitute

Because most gardeners shy away from the great expense of overwintering the winter flower, it is mostly re-sown in Germany. Seeds are formed in large quantities. The seeds are round, about the size of a pea, black in color and therefore easy to recognize. In order to multiply the miracle flower, you should harvest its seeds in autumn and store them in a dry, airy and dark place until the next spring. From March or April it is therefore relatively easy to plant new plants indoors from the seeds.

Sowing, germination, repotting and isolating

The cultivation of the miracle flower is unproblematic if you follow a few basic rules. So you should pay attention to sufficient warmth and moisture when growing the miracle flower seeds. The seedlings grow very quickly in such conditions. You can easily grow them individually in small flower pots or similar vessels such as yoghurt pots. The seeds of the miracle flower do not make any special demands on the soil for cultivation. The potting soil for the wonder flower should only be humus and loose. You can therefore use normal potting soil.

  • For cultivation, it is best to look for a frost-proof and draft-free room and sow the seeds of the miracle flower in March.
  • It then takes about one to two weeks for the seeds to germinate.
  • You can speed up the germination of the seeds by soaking them in warm water for 24 hours before planting.
  • As soon as you see roots growing through the drainage hole, you should repot them in larger plant pots.
  • When the seedlings have reached a size of approx. 20 centimeters, they begin to develop their root tubers, which initially look like an elongated turnip. At this stage you should isolate the tubers.

Propagate by cuttings

In spring you can multiply the miracle flower by cuttings from the head.

  • In early spring, cuttings 10 to 15 centimeters long are cut from the young shoots.
  • The cut surfaces are best dipped in a rooting hormone.
  • Then they are planted in pots with a damp mixture of peat and sand.
  • The planted pots are placed in a propagation box, the temperature of which should be kept at a constant 24 degrees Celsius.
  • After eight to ten weeks, the cuttings develop roots and can be repotted.

Planting out for the new season
The seedlings and cuttings of the miracle flower should only be planted out when frosts are no longer to be expected. In Germany this is usually only the case after the ice saints in May. The same applies to planting out plants that overwinter as a whole

Diseases and pests

The miracle flower is not susceptible to specific plant diseases or pests, but it can be affected by the widespread insects such as lice, mites and flies as well as by general plant diseases such as fungal diseases, etc.

In the event of an acute problem, commercially available insecticides, fungicides, etc. can therefore also be used to protect the plant. A good prevention and strengthening of the plant’s own defenses is the choice of a favorable location with lots of light, good soil as well as sufficient fertilizer and the right watering for the miracle flower.

The miracle flower is a real flowering plant that gives a colorful picture throughout the summer season. It requires little maintenance during the growth and flowering phases. It only becomes more complicated with the perennial wonder flower when it comes to propagating or growing new seedlings or hibernating the whole plant.

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