Real World Gardenr Gloxinia is Plant of the Week

December 30th, 2014

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PLANT OF THE WEEK

Gloxinia speciosa or 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, 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.

The plants commonly known as Gloxinias, or perhaps florist Gloxinias, are mostly varieties of one species, Sinningia speciosa, which come from Brazil.

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Gloxinia photo M Cannon

The name Gloxinia was given in honour of Benjamin Peter Gloxin, a French botanical writer working at the end of the eighteenth century.

Wilhelm Sinning, head gardener at the University of Bonn in the mid-nineteenth century was associated with the hybridization and selection work which has given us the flower we know today.

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

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

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.

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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. The care of the two species is similar, other than the gloxinia's required periods of dormancy.

Funnily enough I can grow my Gloxinia outdoors under a peach tree in a pot, but can’t do that with my African violets.

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