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Yesterday Today and Tomorrow

Brunfelsia magnifica

Life: Perennial

 

Size: 6′
Light: Partial Sun

 

Water: Average, Well Drained

 

Soil: Any

 

Unlike many members of its genus that will only flower in late winter or early spring, this variety blooms intermittently throughout the entire year. The flowers are three to four inches across and start out dark purple before fading to lavender and then finally white, with the famously rich Brunfelsia fragrance. It is a fairly small shrub, and should be heavily pruned twice a year, immediately following the spring bloom and again in September, to encourage branching and flower production and prevent legginess. A tropical, it is not entirely winter-hardy and may require extra protection during a hard freeze.

Brunfelsia americana (Lady of the Night)

Life: Perennial

 

Size: 5′
Light: Partial Shade

 

Water: Average, Well Drained

 

Soil: Rich, Humus

 

From the West Indies comes this wonderfully fragrant plant. While not scented during the day, at night the rich and addictive fragrance can be smelled up to a hundred feet away, particularly on humid evenings; a single branch, cut after sundown, can perfume a house for many days. The beautiful scent is a complex combination of jasmine with rich undertones of cloves, Oriental five-spice powder, and cinnamon. The flowers themselves are elegant and simple, three to five inches long and white turning to pale yellow as they age, can last for several days at a time, and will appear in repeating cycles from spring until frost. Though classified as a shrub, it is thin and delicate with a moderate branching habit and dark green, leathery leaves that set off the bright blooms. It should be kept in a large container and protected from wind and winter cold. So long as extra humidity is provided, it can do wonderfully indoors as well.