Add Sunshine To Your Garden
Need a little chartreuse-lemon to 'pop' the darker areas of your landscape? Look no farther than this relatively new, wonderful bush!
Guaranteed to brighten the shady areas of your garden with its chartreuse foliage on salmon-red twigs, Illicium parviflorum 'Florida Sunshine' anise bush also bears white flowers in late spring. A hybrid seedling collected by Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights in Raleigh, NC, this broadleaf evergreen shrub attains an upright (5' x 5'), rounded shape with open branches, especially in very shady situations.
Tony reports: "We brought three golden seedlings of the rare Florida endemic Illicium parviflorum back from a 2000 visit to Florida plantsman, Charles Webb. After several years of evaluation, we selected one plant for introduction as Illicium 'Florida Sunshine'. Our 9-year-old specimen has become a small shrub to 5' tall x 4' wide of anise-fragranced, chartreuse gold foliage during the spring and summer.
"As the weather cools in the fall, the leaf color brightens to screaming yellow, then to a near 'parchment' color by midwinter. During the same time, the upper stems take on a brilliant red cast, contrasting vividly with the leaves. In sun, the winter foliage will scorch, so we recommend this be grown in light shade ... a stunning beacon in the winter garden."
The evergreen leathery leaves are glossy and elongated ovals, emerging a bright chartreuse and maturing to a mild chartreuse or yellow-green. In late spring, white flowers are borne from the branches. Each blossom has many tepals (false petals), is not-so-pleasantly fragrant (smells like a wet dog!), and dangles downward. The penny-size fruits ripen from an olive color to brown and have the scent of anise, when crushed. They look like tiny pumpkins!
Grow 'Florida Sunshine' in a lightly acid, organic-rich soil that is moist. This plant is best located in partial shade with morning sun to protect the foliage from bleaching to pale yellow or simply scorching. It is hardy in USDA zones 7 (our zone) to 10, and is not foraged by hungry deer.
My bush (this is its first year in my garden) really is a wonderful addition; certainly a 'pop' of sunshine especially as we move into winter!
Nancy Burns is a certified Master Gardener, Belle Haven Garden Club President for the past six years, co-author of two award-winning gardening books, member of the Landscape Designers' Group and the Landscape Design Council as well as being completely fascinated with gardening.