Real World Gardener Gloxinia is Plant of the Week

January 3rd, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


gloxinia2.pngGloxinia speciosa: GLOXINIA
This next plant is the type you buy after seeing it in a florists display because it looks so exotic with it’s rich velvety petals. You think to yourself, “ I’ll get that” as a reward for something you’ve done like finishing a horticulture course, gardening or floristry course or a difficult task.
Perhaps even after losing some weight.  If you find the right location, they last for years and years.
-let’s find out about this plant.


These modern hybrids have brilliantly coloured trumpet-shaped flowers and very beautiful, large, flat, velvety mid-green leaves. 

gloxinia1.pngThe flowers vary in colour from rich crimson, deep red, violet and white to various combinations of such colours.

Some forms, called the tigrina gloxinias, have flowers heavily spotted or delicately veined in these colours on a white background, and others have frilled edges, touched with white.


I used to treat myself to a red velvet flowering gloxinia when I finished my horticulture exams. They would last a couple of years, then it was time for a new one.

The tubers will survive from year to year but they should not be kept longer than 2 or 3 years as old plants tend to lose their vigour.

Yes, I spent quite a few years studying.

As a rule of thumb, if you can successfully grow African violets, you can probably grow gloxinias.

Having said that, Gloxinia prefer higher humidity than African violets or Streptocarpus, and many serious growers find that they must supplement the humidity in their grow rooms with pebble trays or a humidifier in order to grow Gloxinia successfully year-round.


If you’re ever fortunate enough to be able to attend an African Violet show, then you’ll find that Gloxinias, along with Streptocarpus are also exhibited and for sale.


The biggest difference between growing Gloxinia and growing African violets or Streptocarpus is that Gloxinia require a period of dormancy or “winter rest” in order to flower again.

Your plant will start to wind down, usually around April or May with flowers fading more quickly and fewer or no new buds being formed.

When that happens, your plant is telling you it’s time to rest.

Reduce watering to about half the usual amount and remove dead flower stems.

The really great news is that once you have a mature gloxinia plant, it can live for years. 

There’s the belief that if you can successfully grow African violets, you can probably grow gloxinias. They both are members of the Gesneriaceae family. 

Funnily enough I can grow my Gloxinia outdoors under a peach tree in a pot, but can’t do that with my African violets.
If you have any questions about growing Gloxinias, why not write in to

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