The various gloxinia hybrids give you more bang for your buck as a plant. These small, fast-growing plants feature large, velvety leaves somewhat reminiscent of African violets with giant, bell-shaped flowers in a range of bright colors. They are available as double and single flowers and create great centerpieces for tables or sill plants for that somewhat shady sill.
Gloxinia is not especially hard to grow, and if you can grow African violets, you can grow wonderful gloxinia. Plant them outside in the spring. Although they are tuberous plants that will regrow from the underground tuber after blooming, it's probably best to discard bloomed plants as they will never regain their original vigor. Among gloxinia enthusiasts, it's often a goal to collect as many colors as flower shapes as possible.
|Plant Type||Tropical perennial|
|Mature Size||6-10 in. tall and wide|
|Sun Exposure||Partial shade|
|Soil pH||Acidic, 5.5-6.5|
|Flower Color||White, red, pink, purple, or blue|
|Hardiness Zones||11-12 (USDA)|
Gloxinia Sinningia Hybrids Care
Do not think the plant is dead after it stops flowering. It may just be going through the normal growth cycle of a tuberous plant, which typically experiences a flush of leaf growth from a dry tuber, then flowers, and then dies back. Today, you can grow gloxinia from their tubers, but because the plants will never regain their former glory, it's probably a good idea to think of them as annuals and discard plants after the bloom is done.
Gloxinia does not like direct sunlight and should not be exposed to it; bright, indirect light is best.
Keep soil constantly moist throughout the growing and blooming season. If you're going to repot after the bloom is done, cut water back and let the leaves die, then repot into a fresh pot and begin watering again after it's sprouted. A loose, well-draining, slightly acidic potting mix, like a gardenia or African violet mix, is best.
Gloxinia needs to be watered often enough so that the soil remains moist. When you water, make sure not to hit the leaves with your watering can as this can cause brown spots.
Temperature and Humidity
The average temperature should be 70-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Gloxinia does not like dry heat. Provide humidity, but do not directly spray leaves. Misting encourages fungal diseases.
Fertilize during the growing season with liquid fertilizer or controlled-release fertilizer according to label instructions. Reduce fertilizer during dormancy.
The vast majority of gloxinia on the market today are hybrids of Sinningia speciosa. However, by crossing Sinningia speciosa with other plants from the Sinningia genus, such as Sinningia regina, breeders have been able to create a wonderful kaleidoscope of colors and flower forms, including striped and double flowers.
Pinch off the dead or dying leaves of your gloxinia to keep it healthy.
Propagating Gloxinia Sinningia Hybrids
Gloxinia is relatively easy to propagate. You can take leaf cuttings when the plant is actively growing and sprout them in damp sand or seed-starting soil. Alternatively, you can divide the tubers during repotting and repot tuber pieces into individual pots. That said, however, most modern gloxinias are bred to produce very large flowers and will never regain their original glory after reblooming.
How to Grow Gloxinia Sinningia Hybrids From Seed
Gloxinia seed is very fine and super tiny. Be careful when opening the seed packet: a small gust of wind could sweep them away in less than a second! Sprinkle seeds on potting medium, then gently spray with water. Do not cover. Keep in a warm, light location until germination occurs. Once the seedlings have two pairs of leaves, they can be transplanted.
Potting and Repotting Gloxinia Sinningia Hybrids
When it comes to repotting, gloxinia should not be messed with during the growth season. Repotting should only be performed in the late winter when the last year's growing season is done, and the leaves have died back. When you repot, put the tuber into a slightly larger pot with fresh, slightly acidic soil and resume watering. New leaves should sprout from the tuber, and the plant will continue growing until it flowers again. Flowering can happen at any time of the year.
Common Pests and Diseases
Gloxinia is sensitive to both lack of airflow, and water on its leaves. Both will encourage rot. Also, they should not be left sitting in water for any longer than necessary, as this will encourage tuber rot. On the other hand, plants that are too dry begin to experience rolled-up leaves.
Gloxinia is susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and scale. Remove infected plants from proximity to other houseplants and discard them. The use of sprays and insecticides will usually ruin the delicate blooms.