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Sinningia spp. (SIN-nin-GEE-a)
Gloxinias have large, oval, fuzzy leaves and vibrant-colored,
bell-shaped, velvety flowers that can average more than 3 inches
in diameter. Each flower is displayed on a long petiole, can be
single or double and can have smooth or wavy petal edges.
Hues include white, pink, red and purple. The flowers also can
be two-toned with white centers or white rims.
The blooming cycle can last from two to four weeks, and the
remaining plant can last for months with proper care.
Gloxinias are grown mostly for spring and summer enjoyment, but
they are available year-round.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Interior light levels
of 100 foot-candles (bright light) or more will maximize plant
quality and flower development. Choose an east, south or west
window, but do not allow direct sunlight to hit the plants.
WATER Never allow gloxinias
to dry out, even slightly. When watering, avoid getting water on
TEMPERATURE Gloxinias are
chill-sensitive plants. They do best with nighttime temperatures
of 65 F or higher and daytime temperatures of 75 F.
HUMIDITY Gloxinias require
high humidity levels. Suggest that consumers place the plants on
pebble trays in their homes.
FERTILIZER Apply a bloom
fertilizer in moderation at every watering. An African violet
food is a good choice.
GROOMING A single gloxinia
plant can produce more than two dozen flowers. If the first two
flowers are pinched off early in their development, the majority
of the remaining flowers will develop at the same time, making a
Gloxinias are sensitive to ethylene gas. Be sure your plants
have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower
level or during transportation.
stress Gloxinias are sensitive to their environment and do not
tolerate stress well. Anything that restricts their root growth
or top growth will reduce both plant size and the number of
DISEASE AND PESTS
Gloxinias are susceptible to several diseases and pests.
PHYTOPHTHORA ROOT ROT Roots
and stems rot at the soil line, causing the plants to die.
Discard the plants and pots.
PHYTOPHTHORA CINNAMOMI Roots
and stems rot at the soil line. Repot plants in pasteurized
potting mix. Avoid overwatering to prevent this disease.
LEAF MINER This relative of
the aphid leaves whitish irregular markings, or “trails.” Pick
off and burn affected leaves.
SPIDER MITES Control these
pests on young plants by fumigating or washing off with a
solution of insecticidal soap.
THRIPS These pests will
eliminate the rich, green coloring of the foliage. Control them
by washing the leaves with a solution of insecticidal soap.
MEANING The name “Gloxinia
speciosa” was assigned in 1817 by Conrad Loddiges, an English
nurseryman, in honor of P.B. Gloxin of Strasburg, Germany. In
1825, the species was renamed, placing it in the correct genus,
Sinningia, which was named for Wilhelm Sinning, a gardener at
the University of Bonn in Germany.
FAMILY Gloxinias are members
of the Gesneriaceae (Gesneria) family, which has more than 2,500
species. Perhaps the best-known member is the African violet (Saintpaulia
ionantha). Other plants in this family include lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus),
goldfish plant (Nematanthus), cape primrose (Streptocarpus) and
flame violet (Episcia).
ORIGINS Gloxinias are native
HISTORY The modern gloxinia
is a hybrid of two Brazilian tropical species, Sinningia
speciosa and S. maxima. It arose as a chance seedling raised by
a Scottish gardener, John Fyfiana, in the 19th century.
Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ,
The Gesneriad Society,
The Society of American Florists’ Flower & Plant Care manual
You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Images courtesy of The John Henry Company
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