782 Brunfelsia paucifloraCommon Names: Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow, morning-noon-and-night, Brazil raintree Family: Solanaceae (nightshade Family)
With flowers opening purple, then turning pale lavender and finally white, yesterday-today-and-tomorrow is an aptly named little shrub. The pansy-like flowers have white throats, are about 2 in (5 cm) across and borne in profuse clusters (cymes, actually) of up to 10 blossoms, displayed all over the plant. Flowers of all three colors are present from spring through the end of summer. Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow gets 3-8 ft (0.9-2.4 m) tall with several stems, an open, airy habit, and a spread of 2-5 ft (0.6-1.5 m). The leaves are leathery and semi-evergreen, 3-6 in (8-16 cm) long, dark green above and pale beneath.
Several cultivars are available: 'Eximia' is the most typical form, commonly found in cultivation and usually referred to simply as yesterday-today-and-tomorrow. 'Floribunda' is smaller with more abundant flowers, and 'Macrantha' has larger flowers and is lacking the white throat.
Brunfelsia pauciflora is native to woodland areas of Brazil.
CultureLight: Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow does best in full sun but needs some shady protection during the heat of the day to look its best. Also does well in filtered shade. Moisture: Water regularly and don't allow to dry out completely. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 10. Jack grows this shrub in Zone 8 but warns to expect leaf and possible stem damage after freezes. Propagation: Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow is easily propagated from tip cuttings of new-growth taken in spring or summer.
Grow yesterday-today-and-tomorrow in a pot so you can bring it indoors when temperatures drop. With pruning, it can be kept to a manageable 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) size. In mild climates, yesterday-today-and-tomorrow makes an attractive specimen shrub, or use it in a mixed hedge or foundation planting.
The name alone is reason enough to grow yesterday-today-and-tomorrow, even if it weren't for the fascinating floral display. The very similar Paraguay jasmine (Brunfelsia australis) is also called yesterday-today-and-tomorrow. It is a somewhat larger, growing to 12 ft (3.7 m), and more densely branched, twiggy shrub, more cold-hardy (to zone 9). It has smaller, fragrant flowers in clusters of 1 to 3. This more robust and faster-growing Brunfelsia also comes from South America. The flowers are not quite as showy as B. pauciflora, but it recovers from frost better, and some gardeners have been growing it in zone 8B.
Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow is known to contain poisonous alkaloids. The berries are especially toxic.
Steve Christman 04/21/00; updated 04/24/03, 09/14/03, 12/29/04, 10/24/05