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Yesterday Today Tomorrow

Yesterday Today Tomorrow

Brunfelsias are evergreen shrubs from tropical America. There are about 30 species, all with tubular flowers which change colour over successive days. Don’s favourite, Brunfelsia bonodora, has masses of violet, lilac and white scented flowers.

Plant details

Common name: Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow, Kiss Me Quick

Botanic name: Brunfelsia bonodora (syn. B. australis, B. latifolia)

The genus name Brunfelsia (often incorrectly spelt Brunsfelsia) commemorates sixteenth century German monk, Otto Brunfels. The species name, bonodora, is from the Latin, and means ‘sweet-smelling’.


An evergreen shrub which grows slowly to around 2-4m (6 -12′) tall and 2m (6′) wide. The foliage is dense and medium green in colour. The young leaves are often purplish in cool weather. The flowers are very sweetly perfumed and appear from September to late November. When they first open they are a violet colour, fading to lavender blue and then white, with the three colours present on the bush at the same time.

Best climate

This plant grows well in Sydney, Brisbane and the tropics, and warm, frost free areas in Melbourne and Perth.


perfumed gardens tropical gardens hedge/screen seaside gardens

Good points:

wonderful perfume masses of beautiful violet, lavender blue and white coloured flowers dense, evergreen foliage


The brown berries have been known to poison dogs. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, muscle tremors, staggering and seizures. If you have a dog, remove the berries every year.


Brunfelsias need a warm, sunny position with protection from frost. They like rich, well-drained soil and adequate water during summer and during dry spells. Tip prune after flowering to keep the plant bushy.

Getting started:

Look for Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow (Brunfelsia bonodora) at your local nursery (it may be difficult to find). Plants in 200mm (8″) pots cost around $18. Another brunfelsia, Brunfelsia pauciflora (syns. B. calycina, B. eximia), has similar looking flowers and is also sold as Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. We do not recommend that you plant this species, because the flowers have no perfume. As the two are difficult to tell apart, smell the flowers on your plant before you buy.