Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: October 2, 2008

Shady Lady Anise
Illicium floridanum 'Shady Lady'

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Species Native Range: U.S. Gulf Coast
Hardiness: USDA Zones 7-10
Mature Size: 4-6 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Partial to full shade
Soil: Rich, acidic, moist but well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Good
Ease of Culture: Moderate

Florida anise is an evergreen shrub that has been in the landscape trade for some time. Shady lady is a recent variegated introduction from Dodd & Dodd Native Nurseries of Alabama. Unlike the straight species which has deep rich green leaves that emerge with reddish stems, shady lady has lighter green leaves that are edged with white. Although the plant produces attractive pinkish-red flowers, this is really a foliage plant. The crushed foliage smells like licorice which can deter deer.

Plant shady lady anise in partial to full shade (morning sun is okay). The soil should be rich in organic matter, acidic in pH and moist but well-drained. Adding coarse sand to the planting mix may be advisable. Plant anise in the same manner as a rhododendron: shallow or atop a small mound with the crown an inch or so above the surrounding soil line. Florida anise can suffer from root rot if planted too deeply or in poorly draining soil.

Grow shady lady anise in a woodland or shade garden, along ponds or streams or as foundation plants in partial to full shade. These plants make excellent screens and the brightly variegated foliage will brighten shady areas. Good companion plants include: azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, ferns, hostas, hellebores and other shade-tolerant plants.


Shady lady anise can be purchased from a variety of online catalogs and from local nurseries. I have seen it at several Pike Nursery locations.

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