brunfelsia americana help!!!

vickie704(7)April 19, 2005


Last fall I purchased one of these plants and it grew inside all winter. Now that the temps are in the 70's and 80's (50's at night), I put it outside. It clearly doesn't like it. I put it in a sunny location--it droops. I put it in a shady location--it droops. Likewise in a filtered light location. It's not a water problem either. When I try moving it back inside where frankly there isn't nearly a lot of light, it perks its leaves back up. What am I doing wrong? Are they this temperamental?

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Your plant is used to very even conditions indoors -- it's not ready to take the outdoors full on at once. Put it in a semishady location, keep it moist, and it will acclimate.

Also, the brunfelsia mavens can say more, but I'm pretty sure this species doesn't like it much below 60 degrees at all -- it may be drooping in response to cold nighttime temps. I'd bring it out for the day and bring it back in at night until things get a bit warmer and the plant gets stronger and used to the great outdoors.

Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 8:47AM
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Thanks, JimShy. That's what I will do.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 2:00PM
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Vicky is wrong -- it's not ready to take on full sun EVER!

I grow this indoors/outdoors in Minnesota. Do not put it in Full Sun - this is a shade plant. Dappled light like under a tree is what it wants. Also must fertilize with acid fertilizer every two weeks -- this is a heavy feeder.

Mine has been blooming profusely for months. They keep blooming all summer but it must be kept in lots of moisture and out of the sun. They grow in the wild under the canopy of the south american jungle. Try to immitate that and it will be very happy.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 1:15PM
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Also, this species likes to have 8 weeks of temperatures between 40 - 60 degrees. This initiates flowering. Put it out in the yard as soom as all risk of freezing is over.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 1:19PM
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I'll try the acid fertilizer every 2 weeks and see if that helps. I finally put it outside permanently around the first of May in semi-shade under an oak tree (it is in a pot). It only gets a couple of hours of dappled sunlight each morning. It still just sits there drooping. I am so frustrated with this plant that I've decided if it lives-- it lives, if it dies--it dies. I live in zone 7 where a lot of plants I grow are not hardy, such as Michelia alba and several other tropicals. Yet, I grow them in pots and bring inside for the winter and have had great success so far with them. You'd think those tropicals would cause more problems than this Brunfelsia but they don't.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 7:25AM
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It sounds like it's used to somewhat 'greenhouse' conditions meaning it's not hardened off. Yes, do keep in part shade sheltered from the hottest sun. I do have one that gets lots of sun but it's used to it now. Mine experience temps down to maybe 38 deg in my shade/greenhouse in winter. I don't fertilize them from Nov. onwards. I use 2-10-10 bloom special on them and they flower within 2 weeks. Mine are still in pots, mostly 3 gallon sized.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 12:05PM
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tomatoman(9B E Cen Fl)

I see these posts are from several years ago, but I hope someone responds. I'm just about to buy a B. americana. A few questions. Soil ph, min/max temps and should I graduate pots or just plant in a large, say 5 gal?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 9:32AM
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This plant grows in the full sun, with temps in the high 90's here in Costa Rica.
I have a couple in pots and they grow without much TLC or additional water, even in the hot, dry season.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 3:51PM
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They can be very tough plants if you watch your watering. They do not like to be over watered as with most other plants. I use a good fertilizer with a capful of vinegar in a gallon of water and feed at every watering in a very porous mix.
It has been consistently flowering for me since December.

I let it harden off by slowly introducing it to the outdoors. It sits in at least 6 hours of direct sun. It seems to take temps beautifully when above the 50's and loves humidity.
When temps drop below that, it just sits there, sometimes looking very unhappy and sulks. The flowering slows down and leaves will start to bend.

I will say this though. The flowers DO NOT like getting hosed off with my faucet water since it is very alkaline. They turn brown the very next day as you can see. When the rains come and wet the flowers, they last forever though. Same holds true for gardenias.

Here is a picture of one of mine in constant bloom and yet putting out more buds.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 9:01AM
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Very porous mix? How does brunfelsia do with transplant into the gritty mix? I have an Americana on the way from Accents!

I heard that brunfelsia dislike root disturbances, but I also heard that that is misinformation? Transplant into gritty is quite a big root disturbance....removing all the soil is quite a big change for a plant!


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:20AM
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If you want, if can always plant in a mix close to what it will be in like a 5.1.1 mix..It's made of mostly bark some peat and perlite...Less root disturbance this way..

But I have always done tons of root disturbance on these plants in pots and never had a plant decline..I think that fallicy could be more true in regards with IN GROUND plants...I have many plants that hate to be dug up but react much better just being repotted...


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 4:52PM
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Thank you so much Mike,

Hm...I will probably attempt gritty mix then. 511 includes a lot of materials I don't have on hand (peat, perlite, lime)...

Haha, since converting to gritty...i am out of most of the typical "soil" materials...just bags of turface and manna-pro and repti-bark....

Hopefully the brunfelsia will will be a small plant (Accents sells 4in pots) so maybe it will have an easier time to adjust. And it is SPRING! prime time for transplant/bareroot.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:07AM
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Is B. Americana the same as B. Nitida?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:54AM
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