Accessibility Skip to Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search

Potato Relative a Floral Buffet

This article was first published on 10 Oct 2014.

Brunfelsia latifolia

Brunfelsia latifolia

Brunfelsia latifolia is a neat little shrub that has flowers that change colour over three days which is where it gets its common name 'yesterday, today and tomorrow' from.

On the first day the flowers open purple, by the second day they have faded to a lavender shade and by the third day they have faded to almost white.  This plant always attracts attention as flowers of the three colours dot the plant.

It is an evergreen shrub which is native to tropical America.  They grow well in tropical and subtropical climates and can even be grown in temperate areas prone to light frosts providing they can be moved to sheltered warmer locations or indoors over the colder months.

From the same family as tomatoes and potatoes, the Solanum family, care must be taken with the seeds and berries of this plant because they contain a poisonous alkaloid.  Small children and dogs are most at risk so consider plant location carefully.

Brunfelsia latifolia can be easily grown in the ground or in a pot and flower well if pot bound.  In the garden they thrive in a rich loamy slightly acidic soil that’s free draining.  They like moisture and semi shade, reasonably high humidity and although relatively slow growing, can be pruned back if required after flowering.

The yesterday, today and tomorrow plant can be seen flowering in the east wing and central house of the Winter Garden Glasshouse in the lower garden.

Stephen Bishop is curator of the winter garden glasshouse at Dunedin Botanic Garden.