Best plant to keep weeds at bay: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, a tropical tomato relative, has dark purple flowers that fade to lavender-purple on their second day and fade to white the third. More of the pansy-shaped flowers are produced daily, so the plant looks like it has multi-colored blooms. In addition to the flowers, it has dark green tropical foliage.

Common name: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Botanical name: Brunfelsia pauciflora

Zones: 10 to 11

Size: To 10 feet tall

From: Areas of South America

Family: Solanaceae (tomato family)

Growing conditions

  • Sun: Partial shade
  • Soil: Moist, but well-drained. It does best in soil rich in organic matter.
  • Moisture: Water in times of drought.

Care

  • Mulch: A layer of mulch around the base of the plant will help keep weeds at bay. Mulch also helps conserve moisture and keeps soil temperatures consistent. Leave a 4-inch gap between the mulch and it’s stems.
  • Pruning: Spring.
  • Fertiliser: Use a balanced fertiliser, such as a 10-10-10, in spring.

Propagation

  • Cuttings: Take softwood cuttings in spring or early summer.

Pests

  • Aphids: These small insects often appear in large numbers on new growth. Spray them off daily with a stream of water; they will not attack a plant after being knocked off. Use an insecticidal soap or neem-oil-based spray if infestations are severe.
  • Mealybug: Mealybugs are sucking insects that cover themselves with a white, powdery covering. They crawl up plant stems and start to feed. They appear as small masses of white cotton. To deter mealybugs, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to them, or use a systemic insecticide.
  • Scale: Scale insects crawl up plant stems, find a permanent home, and sort of plant themselves on the plant. They appear as small, raised spots and are easy to overlook. To deter scales, try encouraging beneficial insects; apply insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. It is also fine to use a systemic insecticide.
  • Spider mites: Spider mites are tiny, nearly microscopic creatures that suck juices from plant cells. Spider mite damage often appears as a “stippling” effect on leaf surfaces. On the bottom sides of the leaves, there are often tiny webs. To deter spider mites, wash the plants frequently with water or use a systemic insecticide.
  • Whiteflies: If small white insects are around the plants and take flight when disturbed, it is probably the work of whiteflies. To deter these insects, apply horticultural oil or use a systemic insecticide.

Garden notes

  • This plant is poisonous: Keep it away from children and pets who might chew upon its leaves, stems, flowers, or fruits.
  • This plant does well in containers in Northern areas as an annual; as tropical brought inside for winter; or as a houseplant in a very bright spot. If grown indoors, keep the plant in a humid spot to keep the leaves from turning brown and dry.
  • Brunfelsia pauciflora ‘Compacta’ is dwarf, growing to no more than 5 feet tall at maturity.
  • Brunfelsia pauciflora ‘Floribunda’ tends to bloom more than the species.
  • Brunfelsia pauciflora ‘Macrantha’ has flowers which are larger than the species.

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