Brunfelsia australis

Brunfelsia australis

Also called Brunfelsia latifolia by some authorities (I really don't know which is correct), and known colloquially as 'Yesterday-today-tomorrow', this pretty, rounded shrub with glossy foliage grows about 2.4 m tall and grows easily in Sydney's climate. Like many shrubs which do well here, it hails from Central and South America. It comes into bloom around September and continues into October. Its simple, scented flowers open violet in colour, then change to pale blue and then white. The variety of colours on the bush at the one time gives an attractive effect. It is effective grown with pink fruit salad sage (Salvia dorisiana), orange or pale yellow nasturtiums (Tropaeolum), Clivia, Vinca major (a groundcover with flowers of a similar shape and hue) or any of the bulbs of spring growing at its feet.

It enjoys sunny sites, but can cope with afternoon shade. It can be grown in a pot. It dislike frosts. It should be pruned back lightly after flowering to promote a dense shape. Propagation is by soft-tip cuttings taken from late spring to early autumn. Another species, Brunfelsia pauciflora, seems to bloom later in our climate and has darker, duller leaves and a more open habit. There is a cultivar of B. pauciflora with bigger leaves and larger flowers, known as 'Macrantha', which I am trying in my garden. Up till now, I have preferred Brunfelsia australis/latifolia for its superior shape and nicer foliage. There is a low-growing version called 'Sweet Petite' (ht 1 m). Belonging to the Solanaceae plant family, Brunfelsia specimens have berries which are potentially toxic to dogs.

Flowers in September, October.