HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
There Brunfelsia is a small evergreen shrubby plant that can be grown in pots, characterized by very colorful blooms as in different species the flower changes color depending on its stage of development.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The generand Brunfelsia belongs to the family of Solanaceae(where we find the most famous plant: the potato) and includes species native to the hot and humid areas of tropical America and the West Indies.
These are shrubby plants that can assume the posture of real saplings, much appreciated and cultivated for their flowers. Their peculiarity that makes them so pleasant is the fact that, in some species, the flower takes on different colors depending on its stage of development: when it blooms it is violet in color and gradually, with the passing of the days it first becomes lavender, then white.
The genre Brunfelsia includes more than thirty species among which, those mostly used for ornamental purposes are:
BRUNFELSIA CALYCINA OR PAUCIFLORA
There Brunfelsia calycina it is native to the wooded areas of Brazil and is a plant that does not reach considerable dimensions, not exceeding 70 cm in height. It has lanceolate, shiny leaves with smooth edges.
The flowers, gathered in inflorescences at the axil of the leaf or at the top of the branches, are large, of variable color depending on their stage of development, passing from violet, to lavender color, to white, up to 7 cm wide, giving a truly spectacular decorative effect. .
The plant blooms from spring and all summer and the flowers are very persistent.
There are numerous cultivars among which we remember: 'Macrantha' with lavender or purple flowers; 'Floribunda' a dwarf cultivar that blooms at the end of winter - early spring.
There Brunfelsia latifolia is a shrub native to South America. It forms a real bush around one meter high with large leaves and a slightly velvety underside. It blooms from the end of winter and throughout spring and the flowers are lavender in color, very fragrant.
There Brunfelsia undulata it is a species native to the West Indies and it is a not very widespread plant. It produces lovely white colored flowers.
There Brunfelsia americanais a plant known as lady of the night as its candid white flowers smell especially during the night. It is native to the West Indies and in its places of origin it reaches up to two meters in height while if grown in pots it remains smaller in size.
In South America the Brunfelsia australis, very compact and branched plant that forms beautiful bushes and is particularly resistant to cold, with smaller and less showy flowers than the other species.
Plants of Brunfelsia they are not particularly difficult to cultivate if it is taken into account that they originate from warm and humid areas.
The optimal temperatures are around 21-26 ° C while the minimum must not drop below 10-13 ° C. They need a lot of light but not direct sun especially during the hottest seasons of the year.
They are plants that in temperate climate regions must be grown in pots because during the warm seasons they can be placed outdoors, while during the winter they must be withdrawn in protected environments.
The plant of Brunfelsia during the whole period that goes from spring and all summer, water sparingly so that the soil remains moist, not wet, while during the autumn-winter period just enough to keep it from drying out.
It loves humid environments so it is very important to place the plant on a saucer with pebbles on which the pot rests and where water will always be present which evaporating will guarantee a humid microclimate. Be very careful that the bottom of the vase is not in contact with water as it cannot tolerate water stagnation.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
There Brunfelsia it is repotted only if the pot has become too small to contain the roots of the plant. A good loam formed by fertile soil, peat with a little coarse sand is used.
Repotting is done after flowering, in conjunction with the pruning of the plant.
The fertilizations of the Brunfelsia start with the emission of flowers by diluting a liquid fertilizer in the irrigation water every three weeks, slightly decreasing the doses compared to what is reported in the package as they are always indicated in excess. When the plant fades, stop fertilizing.
Use a good fertilizer that has not only nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) but also what are called microelements, equally important for plant growth, namely zinc (Zn), magnesium (Mg), Copper (Cu), boron (B), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo).
It blooms from spring and throughout the summer.
Immediately after the plant has bloomed, pruning is carried out to give it compactness.
Multiplication occurs by cuttings.
MULTIPLICATION FOR TALEA
In late spring shoots about 10 cm long are taken from robust sanee plants by cutting with a sharp blade (so as not to fray the tissues), clean and well disinfected (to avoid infecting the tissues) with an oblique cut immediately under a knot. The oblique cut is important as in this way you will have a larger surface for the emission of the roots and the watering water will not accumulate on this surface.
After removing the lower leaves, the surface is dusted with rhizogenic hormones that favor the emission of the roots and then planted in a pot containing 50% peat and 50% sand.
After having moistened the soil well, cover the pot with a transparent plastic bag placed in a cap (see photo), helping you with sticks that will prevent the plastic from coming into contact with the cutting.
Once this is done, place the pot in a shaded area at a temperature around 21 ° C and every day remove the plastic to control the humidity of the soil (it must always remain moist) and remove any condensation that has formed in the plastic.
When the first sprouts begin to appear it means that the cutting has rooted, at which point remove the plastic permanently and wait for the cutting to become stronger, after which you can transplant it into the final pot as if it were an adult plant and should be treated as such. .
PARASITES AND DISEASES
The leaves of the plant wither
This symptom is often accompanied by root rot due to excessive watering.
Remedies: the plant must be immediately removed from the pot, to check the roots and eliminate any rotten ones by cutting them at least one centimeter above the damaged area. After that the surface is sprinkled with a powdered broad spectrum fungicide and repotted with dry soil. Wait a few days before watering the plant to give the wounds time to heal after resuming normal cultivation care but better regulating irrigations.
Infestation due to scale insects
Often these plants can suffer from cochineal infestation (for more information see the chapter dedicated to cochineals). These are very harmful insects that can be of two types: brown cochineal and floury cochineal.
The presence of Cochineals in these plants can also be manifested by the discoloration of the leaves.
Remedies: if the plant is not too big they can be removed with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or, if the Brunfelsia is in a pot it can be washed with water and neutral soap, rubbing gently with a soft sponge, after which it should be rinsed to remove the soap. If the plant is large and planted outdoors, then it is necessary to intervene with specific insecticides that you can find in specialized centers.
Aphids on the plant
Aphids or as more frequently they are called lice. They are insects that if not kept under control can cause serious damage to the plant.
Remedies: treat with specific aficides available at specialist gardening stores.
The genre Brunfelsia it was dedicated to Otto Brunsfeld 81489-1534), German physician, botanist and theologian, creator of an important herbarium.
Due to the fact that in some species the flowers change color depending on their stage of development they are called yesterday Today and Tomorrow.