Gardeners are often on the lookout for plants that will shine in the shade, and sanchezia is one such plant. Not only does it have interesting foliage year-round, it even produces flowers.
Pronounced SAN-cheh-see-ah, this low-maintenance shrub has dark green foliage with striking white, cream, or gold veins. Sanchezia has an upright habit that can reach 8 feet tall and wide but usually reaches 4 feet. In summer, yellow tubular flowers emerge from eye-catching orange bracts.
Use sanchezia in mass plantings, as the back of a border, or in a container. Although it tolerates full sun, sanchezia performs best in shade and is great for planting underneath a tree canopy. These plants are also tolerant of salt spray.
Three species are commonly cultivated, Sanchezia nobilis, S. parvibracteata, and S. speciosa. Hybrids between these exist, cultivated for exceptional markings and flowers.
Sanchezia thrives in Central and South Florida, in areas with partial to full shade. Low winter temperatures burn the leaf edges. Farther north, it will be killed to the ground by frost or freeze, but recovers once temperatures warm up again. The plants may need supplemental irrigation during hot, dry weather, especially those in containers.
Kristen Llamas, author "Tropical Flowering Plants," offers helpful information on the proper pronunciation of sanchezia. While the name is often pronounced with emphasis on the "chez," the correct pronunciation is SAN-cheh-see-ah, in keeping with its namesake, Spanish botanist Jose Sanchez.
For more information on sanchezia and other shade-loving ornamentals, contact your county Extension office.
- Creating a Tropical Shade Garden--UF/IFAS Extension Orange County (PDF)
- Gardening with Perennials in Florida
- Landscaping in Florida Shade (PDF)