By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Tropical flora such as Sanchezia plants bring the exotic feel of humid, warm, sunny days to the home interior. Discover where to grow Sanchezia and how to mimic its natural habitat indoors for big, healthy plants. Learning about Sanchezia cultural practices will ensure successful plant stewardship. Sanchezia plant care for outdoor specimens will vary a bit and can only be undertaken in USDA zones 9 to 11.
About Sanchezia Plants
Sanchezia (Sanchezia speciosa) is an evergreen perennial in the higher zones, though it may die back in zone 9 and return in spring. It is a semi-woody shrub with large, foot-long glossy leaves divided by thick colored veins. Flowers are bright red with orange bases and are carried on stems in long spikes. Technically, the flowers are modified leaves or bracts and have no reproductive organs.
Sanchezia is native to Peru and Ecuador. As a tropical plant, it requires moist, warm ambient air and dappled shade. In its habitat, the plant grows under the rainforest canopy and receives protection from the hottest sun. The rich humic soils of the understory in a tropical rainforest are moist and dappled by light. The large trees trap dew and water, which drip down to the forest floor. The whole effect is fecund and muggy, a veritable steam of nutrients and moisture bathing all the plants in the forest.
Where to grow Sanchezia? You can use it as a houseplant or in the tropical garden. Just ensure humidity is at least 60 percent so that it mimics similar effects as the rainforest.
Sanchezia Growing Information
These beautiful shrubs are easy to grow by stem cuttings. The only Sanchezia growing information you need to know is the best time to take cuttings. Take terminal end cuttings in spring when new foliage is forming.
Pull off the lower leaves to make a stem and dip into rooting hormone or alternatively, suspend the cutting in a glass of water. You must change the water frequently. Rooted cuttings grow best in peat under glass or with a bag over the planter to keep humidity high.
Sanchezia plants are ready for transplant when they have a thick base of roots.
Sanchezia Plant Care
Sanchezia grows in full sun as long as there is protection from noon-day sun. Partially shady areas produce healthier plants with less burning on the foliage. Temperatures must remain above 50 F. (10 C.).
Sanchezia plants need high humidity but allow the surface of the soil to dry out before you irrigate again.
Feed during the growing season with ¼ teaspoon of plant food per gallon of water.
The fast growing plants respond well to pruning, which can help keep it compact and diminutive enough for indoor use.
Watch for aphids and mealybugs, but otherwise the plant has no real pest problems. The biggest cultural issues are burnt leaves in high light situations and root rot if the soil is too boggy.
Sanchezia plant care is very straightforward and the plants make particularly good houseplants.
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Sanchezia Species, Gold Vein Plant, Yellow Sanchezia, Shrubby Whitevein, Zebra Plant
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Where to Grow:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Soil pH requirements:
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
On Sep 4, 2013, CostaRica from Guayabo de Bagaces, Guanacaste,
Costa Rica (Zone 10b) wrote:
I planted a small cutting and have seen it grow to over 8 ft tall in the Turrialba area of Costa Rica. Hummingbirds love it!
On Oct 22, 2009, Scogebear from Boca Raton, FL wrote:
I have 4-5 of these plants I put along the southern fence in my yard a few years ago. I've been happy with them. Required occasional watering the first couple years. They've died back the past two years after the weather went into the 40s. I cut them back a little and they came back nicely in the spring.
On Oct 12, 2007, petenpalm86 from Lake Worth, FL wrote:
Mine are five feet tall, dense and grow in partial shade. They have survived 38F with no damage. Need a lot of water.
On Mar 2, 2007, inexplicable1 from Brandon, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
Still have mediocre effects of this plant. Have had it on the southern corner of my house under lots of bamboo. Maybe not enough sun.
On Oct 20, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:
Very attractive foliage plant. I grew one for years outdoors in full sun-plus it got some reflected warmth from a wall. And i was surprised at how well and fast it grew. It even bloomed-in February! Give it a very large pot or half barrel, plenty of water and lots of fertilizer. You will be the only one on the Bay Area block to have one. Update 2007
This winter's week of near or lower than freezing temps killed one small Sanchezia-but not a second. My recommendation is to always take cuttings in the event of a cold winter it's worth it. No other plant like this one around here.
On Apr 5, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:
This is an erect and semi-herbaceous shrub from Equator that can grow up to 2 meters tall when blooming.
It has gorgeous leaves, deep green with white main and secondary veins, making it look like a Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa). The floral spikes are apical, with red/orange/gold bracts protecting tubular yellow flowers that atract hummingbirds.
It likes full sun, regular watering, fertile soil and high temperatures.
The foliage and bloom make it a perfect plant for sunny and warm places.
Sanchezia 'Ellen' (Sanchezia parvibracteata)
The colorful foliage of Sanchezia creates brings an instant and effortless tropical feel to the landscape. The large yellow and green leaves add a burst of color perfect for garden beds or large containers on the patio. Can be grown indoors in a sunny location. Excellent background plant, especially in frost-free climates where it can easily grow to shrub size.
The perfect choice for beds and borders. Makes a breathtaking potted specimen plant. Wonderful for combination plantings.
Every two weeks with mild liquid fertilizer.
Water at least twice weekly.
Basic Care Summary
Best in fertile, well-drained soil. Keep soil moist, watering freely in dry weather. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly. Provide shade in very hot weather.
Prepare the garden by breaking up the existing soil (use a hoe, spade, or power tiller). Add organic matter such as manure, peat moss or garden compost until the soil is loose and easy to work. Organic ingredients improve drainage, add nutrients and encourage earthworms and other organisms that help keep soil healthy. Give plants an extra boost by adding a granulated starter fertilizer or a balanced all-purpose feed (for example fertilizers labeled 12-12-12).
Check the plant label for suggested spacing. Crowding plants can result in fewer blooms and weak growth as the plants compete for light. Exceptions to this might be regions with a short growing season, shade plantings which tend to grow slower and fill in less quickly, or a need to fill an area with color quickly such as for a special event or if planning to entertain guests outdoors.
Remove the plant from the container. If plants are in a pack, gently squeeze the outside of the individual plant cell while tipping container to the side. If plant doesn't loosen, continue pressing on the outside of the container while gently grasping the base of the plant and tugging carefully so as not to crush or break the stem until the plant is released. If the plant is in a pot, brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot.
Dig the hole up to two times larger than the root ball and deep enough that the plant will be at the same level in the ground as the soil level in the container. Grasping the plant at the top of the root ball, use your finger to lightly rake the roots apart. This is especially important if the roots are dense and have filled up the container. Set the plant in the hole.
Push the soil gently around the roots filling in empty space around the root ball. Firm the soil down around the plant by hand, tamping with the flat side of a small trowel, or even by pressing down on the soil by foot. The soil covering the planting hole should be even with the surrounding soil, or up to one inch higher than the top of the root ball. New plantings should be watered daily for a couple of weeks to get them well established.
Vining annuals require vertical space to grow, so provide a trellis, fence, wall or other structure that allows the plant to grow freely and spread.
New plantings should be watered daily for a couple of weeks. After that, depending on the weather and soil type, watering can be adjusted to every two or three days. Clay soils hold moisture longer than sandy soils, so expect to water more frequently in sandy settings.
Different plants have different water needs. Some plants prefer staying on the dry side, others like to be consistently moist. Refer to the plant label to check a plant’s specific requirements.
Ideally water should only be applied to the root zone - an area roughly 6-12” (15-30cm) from the base of the plant, not the entire plant. A soaker hose is a great investment for keeping plants healthy and reducing water lost through evaporation. Hand watering using a watering wand with a sprinkler head attached is also a good way to control watering. If the garden area is large, and a sprinkler is necessary, try to water in the morning so that plant foliage has time to dry through the day. Moist foliage encourages disease and mold that can weaken or damage plants.
To check for soil moisture use your finger or a small trowel to dig in and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.
Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed to encourage blooming (such as 5-10-5).
Too much fertilizer can actually damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.
Prune plants freely to maintain the desired size and shape. Pinching plants back stimulates dense, bushy new growth and encourages more flowers.
Remove old flowers to keep plant looking healthy and prevent seed production that drains the plant’s energy at the expense of forming new flowers.
Some plants are grown only for their attractive foliage (such as coleus, dusty miller and flowering kale). Their flowers are not very showy and any buds should be pinched off to keep the foliage looking its best.
Fertilise every four waters during the growing period before reducing this to every six in the autumn & winter. Although an 'All-Purpose' fertiliser will still do the job, we'd recommend using a specific 'Houseplant' labelled fertiliser as it'll support the vital thirteen nutrients that this species will need to grow.
Yellowing lower leaves could be a sign of over-watering, but equally is a byproduct of maturity. If the older leaves rapidly become yellow in quick succession, over-watering could be to blame. People don't realise that a plant's root system needs access to oxygen too when soil is watered, the air will travel upwards and out of the potting mix. A lack of accessible oxygen for the roots will cause them to subsequently breakdown over the oncoming days. Click on this link to learn more about root rot and how to address it.
An array of simultaneous cultivation issues will increase the chance of developing yellowed leaf-sections with browned halos - see image below for visual reference. Firstly, the location may be too dark, with its compost staying too saturated in-between waters if mould is growing across the soil, this is usually a bad sign. Further, you're potentially using too cold water or tap water that hasn't been allowed to sit for 24hrs. This period of rest will not only bunk-up its temperature, but the harsh chemicals used to preserve water hygiene (fluoride & chloride) will begin to settle after a few hours. If possible, use fresh bottled water from a shop or supermarket to prevent further chemical burns. The final culprit might be lack of fertilisation, with regular feeds being paramount for long-lasting, healthy leaves. If the specimen hasn't been nourished in over two months, it'll begin to show signs of nutrient deficiencies seen in this article.
If this common problem has occurred with your specimen, remove the affected leaves (not sections on the leaf) and improve the growing conditions considerably. Fertilise regularly with lukewarm water and be sure to allow the top third to dry out in between hydrations. Its new growth should be problem-free, but if you'd like to speak to ukhouseplants for more advice, don't be afraid to book a 1-to-1 call with our friendly author, Joe Bagley!
If your specimen is located in a dark environment with mould developing on the compost's top layer, use a chopstick to stab the soil in various areas gently. You should aim to enter the compost between the base of the plant and the pot's edge, as failure to do so may lead to damaging its lower portion. Leave the holes open for a few days before re-surfacing the soil to avoid it becoming overly dry. Not only will the gentle shift in the soil's structure mimic the work of small invertebrates in the wild (worms, etc.), but it'll also add oxygen back into the soil, thus reducing the risk of root rot. Repeat this monthly, or whenever you feel the potting-mix isn't drying out quickly enough.
White powder-like substances found on the stems is nothing to be worried about, and is part of maturity as it ages.
Curled leaves and brown leaf-edges are the result of too little water and over-exposure to the sun. Sanchezia are best located in bright, indirect settings with only a splash of morning pr evening sunlight at the very most. Those that haven't acclimatised to the harsh rays will show signs of sun-scorch and environmental shock. A splash of winter sunlight is acceptable as long as the soil moisture is regularly observed, with complete avoidance once summer comes along. Reduce the amount of sunlight received and continue to keep the soil moist. Although the older leaves will forever remain damaged, its new growth should be good as new!
Never situate it within four metres of an operating heat source, for instance, a heater or fireplace. Due to the heightened temperature, the plant will soak up far more moisture than those situated in cooler locations, increasing the chance of droughts and browning leaf-edges.
Transplant shock is a big issue when it comes to heavy-handed repots. Give the plant a good soak 24hrs before the action and never tinker with the roots, unless it has been affected by root rot. Typical signs of transplant shock are largely similar to under watering, with wilting, yellowing leaves and stunted growth among the most common symptoms. Click here to learn more about addressing transplant shock and a step-by-step guide on performing the perfect transplant.
Sanchezia speciosa is an amazing houseplant to have in your collection, as long as you provide a location with warmth, bright light and reliable moist soil.
Sanchezia speciosa was formally classified in 1926 by American botanist, Emery Clarence Leonard , during a voyage to South America . The name, Sanchezia , honours 19th-century Spanish botanist, José Sanchez, whereas speciosa can be translated from Latin to mean 'showy' (referring to the contrast between the red flowers and golden foliage).
The Distribution of Sanchezia speciosa.
15° - 27℃ (59° - 80℉)
H1b (Hardiness Zone 12) - Can be grown outdoors during the spring and summer in a sheltered location whilst nighttime temperatures are above 15℃ (59℉), but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as it may result in sun-scorch. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.
The overall size can be up to 1.2m (4ft) in height and 0.5m (2ft) in width. The ultimate size will take between 5 - 8 years to achieve when repotted every two years, with several new leaves unfurling per annum.
Pruning & Maintenance
Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health.
Via Seed or Stem Tip Cuttings.
Stem Tip Cuttings (Moderate) - This method is an easy way to duplicate the original plant. Stems that are at least 10cm (4 inches) in height and part of an established plant are most successful. To avoid making a mess of the serrations, use a clean pair of scissors and cut 8cm down from the stem's end, dipping the wound in water and then into rooting hormone to speed the propagation. Rooting can take in the range of between two to eight weeks, depending on environmental factors and the cutting's quality. We recommend using a 'Houseplant' labelled potting mix, with a pot that has adequate drainage to avert the risk of blackleg. Provide a bright, warm setting of around 18℃ (64℉) with relatively moist soil, but be sure to allow the top half to dry out in between waters. You'll know if propagation is successful as the leaves will stay green and firm, along with small roots developing from the callous (dried wound). New foliar growth will emerge from the nodes after around twelve weeks, but it may take longer if the conditions aren't optimal. After a month of solid new foliar growth, transplant into a slightly bigger pot and treat it like a mature specimen with the care tips provided above.
Sanchezia speciosa will produce a cluster of red flowers along a thick shaft that develops from the stem's centre. Unfortunately, it's unlikely for a domestically-grown specimen to flower indoors due to the unfavored growing conditions.
Repot every two or three years in the spring, using a 'Houseplant' labelled potting mix and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Sanchezia are far better potbound for several years due to the heightened risk of root rot and repotting-issues (like transplant shock) - so only repot if you feel it's wholly necessary.
Hydrate the plant 24hrs before tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those situated in a darker location, introduce extra amounts of perlite and grit into the lower portion of the new soil to downplay over-watering risks. Click here for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.
Book a 1-to-1 video call with Joe Bagley if you'd like a personal guide to repotting your houseplant. This will include recommending the right branded-compost and pot size, followed by a live video call whilst you transplant the specimen for step-by-step guidance and answer any further questions!
Pests & Diseases
Keep an eye out for mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, scale, thrips & whitefly . Common diseases associated with this species are root rot, red leaf-spot, heart rot, botrytis & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.
Considered slightly poisonous when consumed by pets and humans. If large quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.
Book a 1-to-1 Call with Joe Bagley
If you need further advice with your houseplants, book an advice call with ukhouseplants' friendly and expert writer today! This can be done via a video or audio call on most apps, including Facebook, FaceTime & Skype. A ten-minute call costs £5.99 (US$7), or £15.99 for thirty minutes. You can ask multiple questions, including queries on plants, pests, terrariums, repotting advice and anything in between. Please consider supporting this service to keep ukhouseplants thriving!
Sanchezia speciosa, or the shrubby white vein, is a tropical bushy shrub known for its large handsome foliage . Leaves are bright green with prominent yellow, ivory, or white veins/midribs, since the name white vein. Native to Ecuador and Peru sanchezia makes a beautiful background for the showy yellow flowers that are present most of the year.
Sanchezia can grow up to 8 feet if unchecked. This semi woody evergreen shrub likes moist well drained soil. Grows better in humid conditions. If nourished well leaves can grow up to a foot in length.
Sanchezia likes partial sunlight and this indirect light helps them to develop its unique foliage. They require high moisture in soil and should never be allowed to dry out but, do not water log your plants. For a good show they need humus rich/organic matter rich soil.
Sanchezia are widely grown as ornamental plants. AllSanchezias are tropicals. S. speciosa is one of several species. Sanchezia are known for their showy leaves and foliage. There are variegated varieties too.
These annuals can be fertilized during the growing season with slow releasing balanced fertilizers. For this you can use any organic manure.
Sanchezia can be used as shrub borders or hedges for its foliage and flowers. They can be grown as a specimen plant and can also be potted. They enjoy occasional misting.
Sanchezia can be propagated through cuttings. Be careful of scale insects and mites.
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Some of you grow only indoors, some only in terrariums many of you have hobby greenhouses while a growing number of customers live in subtropical or tropical areas of the world. These brief codes are an attempt to suggest whether or not a particular plant will do well in your particular conditions.
- HP - House Plant, performing adequately in the ordinary home
- CGH - Cool Greenhouse, for ideal growing conditions most low temperature plant rooms would also fall within this code
- TGH - Tropical Greenhouse, for plants needing constant warmth and higher humidity also would describe growth chamber setup some of you have built in your basements
- TERR - Terrarium culture is most successful or appropriate
- HT - Hardy Temperate: winder hardy at least to Zone 7 or to Zone 6
- HH - Half Hardy, possibly damaged in a prolonged winter, but reliable outdoors in Zone 8
- HB - Hardy Bulb
- SSA - Self Sowing Annual
- y - indicates a plant or groundcover popular in bonsai work
- h - indicates a bog plant, or an aquatic
- v - indicates a plant appropriate for terrariums
If an entry has the cluster HP CGH, this means normal house plant culture will be successful if the plant is given a cool CGH moist location however if the entry has the cluster CGH HP, you would interpret this to suggest that while Cool Greenhouse conditions are needed for total success with this plant, House Plant conditions will be adequate, while not ideal. If the cluster is HH CGH you would interpret this to mean that while in Zone 8 or below this will be winter hardy outdoor, further north it will need considerable mulch, a cold frame, or a Cool Greenhouse to thrive. And so on.
Another shade-loving shrub is the crape jasmine (Tabernaemontana divaricata), which originates from India but does well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. It will grow to a height of approximately 5 feet and does well in part shade. The white flowers contrast beautifully with the deep green, shiny leaves. Crape jasmine blooms from spring all through the summer and into fall.
Fatsia (Fatsia japonica) is best suited for USDA zones 8 to 10. It has a vibrant tropical look but is also cold-tolerant to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, the fatsia shrub will grow to a height of 6 to 10 feet with a similar width. Foliage is dark green and shiny, and the leaves reach 6 to 14 inches wide with 7 to 9 lobes on each leaf. Fatsia grows very well in even deep shade and will still reward you with stunning white flowers that grow in round clusters.