Breynia disticha
Common Name: snowbush 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Phyllanthaceae
Native Range: Pacific Islands
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. In St. Louis, plants are best grown in containers and overwintered in humid, cool but frost-free locations such as large sunrooms, porches or greenhouses. They also may be grown as bedding or container plants. Cuttings taken in late summer can be overwintered. These plants can be very difficult to overwinter in dry indoor conditions where they tend to drop all of their leaves. Grow in moderately rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best foliage color usually develops in full sun. Tolerates wide range of soils, but prefers organically rich ones with consistent moisture. Periodic light pruning during the growing season stimulates new foliage growth.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Breynia disticha, commonly called snow bush, is a tropical shrub that typically grows 2-4’ tall. It is grown for its attractive red zigzag stems and variegated foliage. Elliptic to ovate green leaves (to 1” long) are liberally mottled with white. Cultivars of this species feature leaves mottled with pink, red and purple. Small greenish apetalous flowers are insignificant. Synonymous with Breynia nivosa.

Genus name honors Jacob Breyne (1637-1697), merchant in Danzig and his son Johann Philipp Breyne (1680-1764), physician in Danzig.

Problems

Watch for caterpillars and spider mites.

Garden Uses

Suitable for use in container plantings. Also may be sheared and grown as a bedding plant. Popular hedge in tropical climates.