Sanchezia's handsome foliage makes a beautiful background for the showy flowers that are present throughout most of the year. Click here to download a large (800x600) version of this image.
Sanchezia is a 6-8 ft (1.3-2.4 m) semiwoody evergreen shrub with smooth bright green or purple stems, large variegated leaves and colorful flowers. The leaves are up to a foot in length, opposite on the stems and marked with prominent, well defined yellow or ivory veins. The tubular flowers are yellow with red bracts, about 2 in (5 cm) long and borne in terminal spikes of 6-10. In tropical climates, sanchezia blooms throughout most of the year.
Location Sanchezia speciosa is native to northeastern Peru and Equador where it grows in the humid understory of tropical rainforests.
Culture Light: Light, dappled shade. Sanchezia does not tolerate full sunlight at midday, but it needs bright indirect light to develop its best variegated foliage. Moisture: Sanchezia needs a lot of water. Keep the soil moderately moist and use soft water, preferably rainwater. Reduce water in winter. In the house or greenhouse, sanchezia needs a humid atmosphere of at least 60% humidity. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. Sanchezia is an evergreen perennial in zones 10 and 11, and a returning perennial in 9B. Plants will die to the ground following a freeze. Although they may not bloom, expect them to come back in spring. This tropical does best when temperatures never fall below about 60°F (15.6°C), even in the nongrowing season. Propagation: Sanchezia tip cuttings are easy to root under glass with bottom heat.
A large sanchezia poses prettily beside a pathway at Miami's Fairchild Tropical Garden. Click here to download a large (800x600) version of this image.
In tropical climates, sanchezia is cultivated in shrub borders and hedges for its foliage and flowers. In zone 9 it is an attractive foliage plant. Sanchezia is also grown as a houseplant for its beautiful foliage, but requires a high humidity. If you want to grow it as a houseplant, stand the pot on a bed of pebbles in a tray of water and mist the leaves frequently.
Whether for its foliage or its flowers, sanchezia is beautiful perennial for the greenhouse or tropical landscape.