A sweet surprise this week
LAST Monday I had a chance to visit a home near the Fitzroy River in North Rockhampton on a council matter but instead of meeting inside the house we sat in a gazebo in the rear garden surrounded by shrubs that were flowering with several colours all on the plant at the same time. The plant species in question was Brunfelsia and has the common names of Franciscea or Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
The form of this shrub most easily spotted in local gardens that has the distinctive purple flowers which fade over successive days is Brunfelsia laterifola.
Most varieties have flowers that are very sweetly perfumed and appear from September to late November.
Fragrance is another bonus of this plant, which produces its main show of flowers in spring, a few flowers may be produced at other times depending on the season.
When they first open they are a purple colour, fading to mauve and then white, with the three colours present on the bush at the same time.
There is also a variety that flowers from yellow, fading to lemon and then white, this variety is called Brunfelsia Americana or Lady of the Night.
But there are several other varieties that were also grown in this garden including Brunfelsia pauciflora or Giant Brunfelsia, a hardy shrub to 2m high with dull dark-green leathery leaves. Brunfelsia pauciflora is dramatic in bloom with abundant large fragrant flowers but less perfumed form of the old-fashioned shrub. The 50cm sized flowers are purple flowers fading to mauve then white.
Along the sides of the house the Brunfelsia Sweet Petite formed a low screen to hide the lower side of the house.
This dwarf Brunfelsia Sweet Petite produces masses of small flowers, beginning purple, fading to mauve and then white throughout spring, summer and autumn, it take a few years to flower.
Brunfelsia Sweet Petite makes an excellent feature plant in the garden or as a tub specimen to brighten up patios, verandas, courtyards and balconies. Brunfelsia Sweet Petite little pruning due to its dense growth habit, however can be tip pruned to shape.
This garden also used a small clipped hedge of Brunfelsia Sweet Temptation.
This small shrub has dark green foliage and burgundy new growth.
Brunfelsia Sweet Temptation produces perfumed large white flowers with fluted edges from late spring to early autumn.
Brunfelsias are evergreen shrubs made up of 30 species from tropical Central and South America, with the first plants grown in Central Queensland over a century ago.
All but a few Brunfelsia have those beautiful tubular flowers which change colour over successive days. T
The name Brunfelsia honours a sixteenth century German monk, Otto Brunfels.
All Brunfelsias require a warm, sunny to part shaded position with adequate water during summer and during dry spells. They will grow best with humus rich, well-drained soil that is well mulched.
Brunfelsia does have a tendency to sucker from the roots that can become a problem in some gardens, it is best to remove any of these suckers promptly. Brunfelsia will require tip prune after flowering to keep the shrub bushy.
When planting Brunfelsias make sure they are not planted in a position that could be frosted.
The uses for Brunfelsias in the garden include being perfumed feature shrubs to colourful hedging plants. They can even act as large potted plants, in fact the more root bound the plant becomes the better the flowering.
Whether your Brunfelsia is grown as a specimen shrub, hedge or large potted plant they will all attract butterflies.
Brunfelsia are easy to grow and make a perfect addition to any cottage garden or traditional style flower garden.