Growing Sanchezia

Latin Name Pronunciation: san-chez'-ee-ah 

In tropical gardens, these bushy, evergreen species are grown as shrubs and hedges for their beautiful foliage and long-blooming, tubular flowers. In zone 9, Sanchezia is a returning perennial -- it dies to the ground after a freeze and comes back in spring but may not bloom. As a houseplant, this showy South American native requires high humidity.

Light/Watering: Full sun or partial shade; protect from afternoon sun. Needs frequent watering in containers. Rain water is preferred.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Moist, well-drained soil. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly from spring through fall.

Temperature: Day and night temperatures of 60-75 degrees F are fine year round.

Continuing Care: Foliage color develops best in bright light. Prune to shape. Before bringing outside in spring, gradually "harden off" to prevent sun and windburn. Spider mites and scale insects may be problems.

Humidity: Most houseplants are native to tropical or subtropical regions of the world, where relative humidity is typically very high. They suffer in the dry air produced by furnaces and woodstoves. The best way to increase the humidity around your plants is to run a humidifier nearby. You can also set plants in trays filled with pebbles or gravel. Add water to a level just below the tops of the pebbles (if the potting mix in the pots comes in contact with the water, the mix will draw water into the pot, which will cause the mix to become saturated, eventually leading to rot). Refill trays frequently to replace water lost through evaporation.