Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brunfelsia nitida

Brunfelsia nitida is an absolute must-have for the night-time fragrance garden.  The long, tubular, white flowers start to release their scent as the sun goes down.  After dark, the entire garden around the plant will be perfumed with a spicy, clove-like aroma.
The flowers appear on each flush of new growth throughout the warm months of the year.  The white blooms flare open at the end of a 6-7" long nectary, and will last for several days.
As the blooms age, they take on a yellow-gold tint.
Pollinated flowers develop a round fruit that turns orange when mature, adding another ornamental aspect to the plant.  The fruit is not edible!
The plant grows as a shrub, 4-5 foot tall, in sun or light shade.
Brunfelsia nitida is native to Cuba and is sometimes known as "Lady of the Night" or "Cuban Raintree".  Most references recommend this plant for USDA Zones 10-11, but mine in Zone 9B appear to be fairly cold-hardy.  Last winter, plants slightly under the protection of tree canopy suffered no damage.  Exposed plants froze to the ground but returned quickly and were blooming by mid-summer.
These plants bloom extremely well in containers, and I like to keep a few in small pots that I can bring in the house when they come into bloom.

9 comments:

AaronVFT said...

Cute white flowers. They somehow reminds me of jasmine. The fruits are beautiful too!

Shirley said...

Can this be overwintered in a pot in, say, a zone 3 area? I would love to grow this!

Kimberly said...

Hi, Jim. What a great, interesting plant! Nice idea to keep it in containers to bring inside when in bloom.

I referenced your July post regarding the Costus Speciosus in my current post. Your current post would go well with my "unique" theme also.

catharine Howard said...

Grower Jim yet another exotic and wonderful plant!

Grower Jim said...

Shirley: It's worth a shot. Since they tolerate shade, they should be able to survive indoors for a while.

Kimberly: Thanks for the mention! This certainly fits the "unique" qualification!

Farmweld said...

What beautiful plants which we can only be admired from afar from here in the Adelaide Hills! Thanks for sharing your garden. Tricia

Tropicaliano said...

I live in the south east of Brazil (equivalent to Zone 11).
I do have the wonderful Brunfelsia Nítida in my garden. It´s fragrance fills the air around it with a very romantic feeling. For some reason my Brunfelsia Nítida doesn´t bear fruit.
Do you know of a good method of propagation? Thank you. Tropicaliano.

Grower Jim said...

Tropicaliano; I've found them difficult to start from cuttings. Your lack of fruiting may be due to not having the correct pollinator, or that there is not another plant nearby for cross-pollination. Many plants fruit much better when pollinated by another genetic strain of the same species.

Jorge said...

My plant is 10 years old and bears lot of fruit but I have many other species of Brunfelsias in my garden so maybe that is what bringing the pollinators to the plant. All of the orange berries I get from this plant have at least 4-5 seeds which easily sprout. Just placed the berries in water for a day to soften it, then remove the seeds and allow them to dry. Plant in any potting soil close to the surface. I used small pots then transplant to bigger pots. I have some growing in the ground but remember they send out runners so you might want to keep them in a pot. I reside in Miami and have them facing north, south, east and west with no problems, although the lushes looking plants in my garden get shade for half of day. The scent is magnificent…cloves, nutmeg…very heady.