Brunfelsia, also called “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”, is a nice summer-blooming shrub.
Key Brunfelsia facts
Name – Brunfelsia pauciflora
Family – Solanaceae 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.
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).
It’s very difficult to grow it year-round inside a house or apartment because the air is much too dry indoors.
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.
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. Here’s an example of clay marbles used to create air moisture.
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 Brunfelsia 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
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.
- Advice on how to prune shrubs
- Ideas of flowered shrubs for a hedge
- Hedges, great barriers against diseases
- Shrubs that flower in the summer
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Cluster of brunfelsia flowers by Carl Lewis under © CC BY 2.0
Two brunfelsia blooms by Alejandro Bayer Tamayo under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Brunfelsia hedge by Carl Lewis under © CC BY 2.0