Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – Brunfelsia pauciflora calycina

The charming flowers of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow usually appear from May until September, but under the right conditions the plant will flower for most of the year.

To get the plant to flower over a prolonged period, the temperature should be maintained at 13-16°C (55-61°F). Continue to feed and water as you did during the spring and summer.

Once flowering has finished, allow the plant to rest. Water sparingly, stop feeding and keep the plant at 10°C (50°F).

The common name of the plant can be explained in the following way. When the flowers first open they are violet (yesterday) but gradually fade to violet-blue (today) and finally to white (tomorrow).

Brunfelsia pauciflora calycina grows to a height of 60cm (24in), with a spread of 30cm (12in). The flowers are fragrant, and about 8cm (3in) in diameter.

Colours and varietiesYesterday, Today and Tomorrow - Brunfelsia pauciflora calycina

There are some 30 varieties of Brunfelsia, two of which are popular as cultivated plants — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and B. undulata. The latter originates in the West Indies. It is a taller plant, which grows up to 1.20m (48in) high. The flowers appear from June to October and are white or cream.

Through The Year

April—May

The plant will normally begin to flower during April. Begin to water more often but do not feed. Place in a position where it can get all the available light but protect from direct sun.

June—September

You should be watering your plant generously now. Mist spray the leaves in hot weather. Do not keep it too warm; a maximum temperature of 21°C (70°F) is best. Feed once a month with a dilute solution of a standard liquid fertilizer.

October—March

If the plant is potbound, pot on into a larger pot. Use a soil-based compost mixed with some peat and sand or Perlite, and a pot that is one size larger. Keep the temperature as close to 10°C (50°F) as possible. Never allow it to fall below 5°C (41°F); remember that the plant will not be able to survive at this minimum temperature for very long.

After flowering is over, the plant should be rested. Water sparingly and don’t feed.

Propagation

You can propagate Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow from tip shoot cuttings taken between February and August.

1 Take cuttings 8-10cm (3-4in) long and dip the ends in hormone rooting powder.

2 Insert the cuttings into a mixture of equal parts coarse sand and peat. Cover with a polythene bag in which you have made several small ventilation holes.

3 Keep the compost moist and maintain a temperature of 21°C (70°F) until they have rooted, which will take about 4 weeks. Pot on as soon as they are growing well.

Pests And Diseases

Pale or yellow leaves result from compost that is not acid enough. Treatment: Repot the plant in compost that contains some peat and add some iron sulphate to the water when watering.

Weak growth is a sign of aphids, which suck the plant’s sap.

Treatment: Wash them off with a gentle stream of tepid water.

Fine webbing at leaf axils and under the leaves is made by the red spider mite, which thrives in dry conditions.

Treatment: Raise the humidity around the plant by mist spraying and standing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles. Serious infestations should be treated with an insecticide.

PLANT CARE

This plant is something of a challenge to grow. It must have warmth and humidity in summer and coolness in winter, conditions which can best be provided in a greenhouse.

  • Potting: Use a soil-based compost mixed with some peat and sand or Perlite. Pot on pot-bound plants 2-3 weeks after flowering or in March—April.
  • Water generously during the growing and flowering period and moderately when the plant is resting. Mist spray frequently if the humidity is low. Always use soft, tepid water.
  • Feeding: Feed once a month from June—September with a standard liquid fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: The plant needs all the light it can get but must be shaded from hot sun.
  • Temperature: The plant’s natural habitat is the rain forest and cultivated plants should be given similar conditions. Keep the air around it humid, at a temperature of 13— 16°C (55-61°F) in summer. A winter temperature of 10°C (50°F) is ideal.

Buying Tips

  • The plant should be available throughout the year from garden centres, florists and nurseries.
  • Choose a plant with lots of flower buds and fresh dark green leaves. Avoid any with yellow spots on the leaves or leaves that are otherwise discoloured.
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow can live for many years.
  • This plant gets its delightful name from the fact that the flowers become paler in colour as they mature. It needs pampering and should preferably be grown in a greenhouse.

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