Botanical Name: Breynia nivosa
Traditionally a tropical garden plant, Snow Bush is slowly becoming recognized as a house plant -- and for good reason. This Pacific Island native is an exquisite accent plant any brightly lit room.
Slender branches of this tropical shrub are densely covered with rounded green leaves, spectacularly splashed with white. The variety 'Rosea Picta' adds pink to the white and green foliage, giving the false impression of a flowering shrub.
Flowers do sometimes appear on mature plants, although they're not at all showy. These odd-looking, petalless flowers are small and green, hiding under the foliage.
Keep it moist. Make this tropical beauty feel at home by boosting the humidity around it. Set the pot on a pebble tray or use a room humidifier to keep the relative humidity above 50%. Also keep the soil moist at all times.
Cut it back. Snow Bush grows quickly and will get quite large if not pruned. Cut the stems with sharp pruners to avoid tearing them. Make the cut just above a leaf node at a 45° angle. Prune to your heart's content -- you won't hurt this vigorous grower.
Repot in spring. This fast-growing shrub will need a new home every couple years. Move it up to a pot one size larger when it outgrows its current one.
It is surprising that we don't see Snowbush more often in nurseries. If you come across this beautiful tropical plant, buy it. You'll enjoy it first as a table accent -- and as it grows, an eye-catching floor plant.
Origin: Tropical Asia, Pacific Islands and Tropical Australia
Height: 3 ft (90 cm)
Light: Bright indirect light. Give your plant a quarter-turn every week or so to expose all sides to sunlight for even growth.
Water: Water thoroughly and often to maintain moist soil. Do not allow the soil to dry out at any time. Remember to always use tepid water when watering your houseplants.
Humidity: Give your plant the humid air it craves, like its native tropical home. Try to maintain a least 50% relative humidity around the plant. Stand the pot on a pebble tray or use a cool-mist room humidifier.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C. This tender tropical will tolerate a minimum of 60°F/16°C.
Soil: Good-quality houseplant potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 to 3 weeks in spring and summer with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Take stem tip cuttings in summer and root them in moist sterile potting mix. Cover the whole thing with plastic to hold in the humidity until it takes root. For best results, use a seedling heat mat to maintain an even 70°F/21°C.