Brunfelsia, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Brunfelsia, also called “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”, is a nice summer-blooming shrub.

Key Brunfelsia facts

NameBrunfelsia pauciflora
FamilySolanaceae or nightshade
Type – shrub

Height – 20 to 40 inches (50 to 100 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – rich enough

Foliage – evergreen or deciduous depending on the climate
Flowering – May to August

This amazing plant changes the colors of its flowers in three short days, shifting from violet to white. It also bears beautiful evergreen leafage.

Planting Brunfelsia

It is a good idea to plant in spring, preferably in a pot so that you may bring it indoors.

Indeed, this shrub fears freezing, so you’ll have to set it up over the winter in a room where temperatures don’t drop below around 50°F (10°C).

There’s no chance of growing it inside a house or apartment because the air is much too dry indoors.

Two brunfelsia blooms, one violet and one pale purple, with green leafage.

Pruning and caring for Brunfelsia

How to prune your Brunfelsia

If you wish to reduce or reshape the shrub, wait for the blooming to end and cut the stems back by half.

In order to increase the blooming, you may add rose tree fertilizer once a week during the blooming season.

An annual repotting in spring is almost mandatory for all your Brunfelsia that are confined to pots.

Brunfelsia in winter

Unless you live in a tropical region where the winter weather is very mild, you’ll have to find a way to protect your shrub in winter.

In fall, it is best to bring your brunfelsia inside, because it is vulnerable to the cold and would fare best in a well-lit spot where the temperature never drops below 50°F (10°C).

Water as little as possible over the winter.

Watering Brunfelsia

It is important to water regularly, with lukewarm water. However, don’t water too much, but water regularly all summer long.

It’s always better to water in the evening so that water isn’t lost through evaporation.

The ideal setting for your brunfelsia is in a pot that is rested on a bed of gravel. The gravel or clay pebbles are stacked in a water retention plate which is always filled with water, while the pot stays in the dry.

This water around the clay marbles evaporates and gives the plant the moisture it requires.

Most common diseases and parasites

The leaves turn white or lose their color

Your soil around the plant is probably too chalky. Provide heath or liquid iron sulfate as a remedy for this.

Most common parasites

Aphids can be quite devastating and their leaves turn sticky and gooey. Here is a link with advice against aphids.

Red spider mites might be found hiding on the undersides of leaves and can also wreck havoc. Treat them with a mite-killer or special red spider mite spray.

Learn more about Brunfelsia

A hedge grown with brunfelsia shrubs, in full bloom.This very beautiful Latin American shrub owes its nickname to the changing colors of its flowers, which shift from violet or purple to blue to white in barely three days.

The genus comprises about thirty different species which are all native to tropical American and Antilles forests.

The scientific name of the plant relates to a famous German botanist, Otto Brunfels.

Every part of the Brunfelsia plant is poisonous, it must be handled with care.

Smart tip about Brunfelsia

Adding organic fertilizer in spring will enhance its bloom.

Read also


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Cluster of brunfelsia flowers and Brunfelsia hedge by Carl E. Lewis under © CC BY 2.0
Two brunfelsia blooms by Alejandro Bayer Tamayo under © CC BY-SA 2.0

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