S & J Nursery’s Guide to Growing
Brunfelsia lady of the night
in the Northeast Florida Landscape
( Brunfelsia americana )
Brunfelsia Lady of the Night Origins and Uses :
– Native to the West Indies from the Caribbean to Venezuela , Lady of the Night is a tropical, low mounding evergreen plant that is cold hardy to 30 degress. They can be planted in zones 9-11 but you can expect some damage to foliage and flowers when temperatures are in the low 30s so cover them or let them go and trim off damaged stems for quick recovery in the spring when all danger of frost has passed.
– Brunfelsia is named after a 16th century German monk, Otto Brunfels, who was referred to as the “Father of Botany” because of his significant contribution to botany. Species americana means from the Americas.
– Brunsfelsia americana blooms in late spring, summer and fall. The 2″ blooms are fragrant and intensify at night. The fragrant tubular flowers which will fade from white to orange-yellow after a few days of blooming.
– Best Uses for Brunfelsia americana is use as a specimen or combined in a shrub border . We recommend this brunfelsia for your summer deck or patio where the heady fragrance will fill the night air but it is mildly fragrant during the day also.
Sun Exposure for the Brunfelsia Lady of the Night :
– Brunfelsia Lady of the Night plants are best planted in areas that will
receive full or partial sun. In Northeast Florida, a plant receiving 6 hours or more of sun exposure is considered to be planted in a full sun location. Morning shade and afternoon sun is ideal, or filtered light under taller growing shade trees. Plants will bloom less in lower light areas but may be better protected from damaging winter frosts in those same shadier locations.
– Best if planted on the south side of the house away from cold north winds,
up next to a fence or near the foundation of a home or other building, or near larger shade trees that will protect these tropical plants from frost. Or plant on the west side of a home or building.
Foliage of the Brunfelsia Lady of the Night :
– yellowish green, oblong-ovate semi-evergreen foliage (depending on winter temperatures) in zone 8-11. Foliage may remain evergreen or may go dormant in our Northeast Florida area gardens. But will quickly regrow from its roots or stems the following spring in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens.
– As with all tropical plantings, they are particularly responsive to their
individual planting location. When planted on the south side of the house away from north winds, or where receiving some frost protection from larger trees or nearby buildings. Utilize your yards frost free microclimates for all of your tropical plant selections.
– Like all members of the Tomato ( nightshade) family the leaves, flowers and berries all contain toxins, so plant at the back of the border and out of the way of curious creatures.
Soil Preference / Salt tolerance of the Brunfelsia Lady of the Night :
– Brunfelsia plants are a fertile well drained soil is best but ensure plenty of access to water in hot weather. Amend the soil when planting with compost to help your Jacksonville and St. Augustine area soil hold both water and nutrients and keep your cestrum plants healthy and blooming.
– Salt tolerance unknown
Size Variance of Brunfelsia Lady of the Night :
– The foliage on the Brunfelsia Lady of the Night plant can reach heights of 4-6 ft in height and 3-4 ft in width .
Growth Habit of the Brunfelsia Lady of the Night :
– Mounding growth habit, responds well to pruning, so don’t be afraid to cut them back and keep them nice and tidy!
Growth Rate of the Brunfelsia Lady of the Night :
– Extremely slow growing in our Northeast Florida landscape. Expect 2-6″ of growth a season.
Blooms of the Brunfelsia Lady of the Night :
– Blooms of The Lady of the Night is considered to flower most heavily in spring but it may be found in flower almost any time of year on a well established specimen. Berry like fruits follow the flowers.
– White, two inch long tubular blooms turn to a cream yellow.
Water Requirements of the Brunfelsia Lady of the Night :
– Brunfelsia require moist but well drained soil. let the soil dry out between watering, Brunfelsia Lady of the Night do not do well in consistently wet soil.
– Although much more durable once established in the landscape, regular water is necessary to get the plant rooted and growing on its own after being planted in the ground from an S & J Nursery container.
– Fully rooted and established Lady of the Night plants are moderately drought tolerant and should only need supplemental irrigation in times of drought.
Care of Brunfelsia Lady of the Night in the Northeast Florida
– Amend sandy soils generously with compost to help your Brunfelsia plants get the much needed water and nutrients it takes to feed these heavy blooming beauties.
– Water every day during the establishment period after planting in the garden from an S & J Nursery container. Be sure to continue supplemental irrigation during the hot summer months during prolonged droughts.
– Fertilize each year just after trimming in the spring with a good shovel full
of garden compost or use Osmocote or another slow release plant food spring, summer and fall.
– When temperatures drop into the 25-30 degrees you may opt to protect your foliage and stems from severe frost damage by throwing a blanket or other breathable fabric over the top of the plant making sure the edges touch the ground to trap in the heat from the soil.
– Prune after the Spring Bloom, Pruning too late into the fall will cause flushes of cold sensitive new growth that is sure to freeze during even a light frost that hardened off foliage would not be affected by.
– DO NOT REMOVE WINTER BURNT FOLIAGE UNTIL ALL DANGER OF FROST HAS PASSED. Be sure not to remove any stems or leaves from the plant until we have reached the last average frost date and there are no late freezes being predicted. ( mid February for Northeast Florida is the average last frost date) Trimming burnt foliage and stems before then will leave bare branches deeper on the plant exposed to cold temperatures that would have been protected by those same stems and foliage if left unpruned and most often results in loss of the plant entirely.