Gloxinia - Sinningia


Sinningia speciosa



Contents

  1. Top Tips
  2. Location, Water, Humidity & Fertilisation
  3. Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers
  4. Common Issues
  5. Origins, Temperature, Propagation, Repotting & Toxicity.

For queries or questions, comment in the section below or send us a message via this link!




Top Tips & Info

  • Care Difficulty - Moderate
  • Bright, indirect light is best. A splash of winter sunlight for an hour is highly beneficial to counteract the darker days and longer nights. Avoid shaded spots at all costs. 
  • Keep the soil evenly moist whilst in flower, using lukewarm water and the bottom-up method of irrigation. Reduce the frequency of irrigations slightly over the autumn and winter months to avert the promotion of root rot. 
  • Average room humidity is acceptable for Sinningia.
  • Supplement fortnightly using a potassium-based feed whilst in bloom, reverting back to a 'Houseplant' fertiliser at monthly intervals.
  • Transplant every three years during the spring, using a houseplant potting mix and the next sized pot.
  • Scroll down to the 'Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers' section to learn about annualising blooms.
  • Unfortunately, due to the limited lifespan of a Sinningia, it's wholly natural for your specimen to die shortly after its final flower has elapsed. 




Location & Light - 🔸🔸🔸

A location with little to no direct light is the ideal setting for this species. Shady locations must be avoided at all costs due to the heightened chance of over-watering and basal rot (when watered from above). If you're worried about its location being too dark, if a newspaper can be read while having your back towards the light source, you'll be good to go.

In terms of the ideal room around the house, as long as the desired location is above 15ºC  (59ºF)  and is at least four metres away from an operating heat source, it should be accepted. A north, east or west-facing windowsill is great, but try not to place it in direct sunlight where a chocolate bar would melt.


Water - 🔸🔸🔸

Allow the pot to feel slightly light when lifted before rehydrating its soil. Always keep in mind that over-watering is the number one issue with Sinningia, so it's vital to keep the specimen slightly on the drier side to life. Only hydrate the plant using the bottom-up method, as splashing the flowers and leaves will result in diseases such as Botrytis Petal Blight, southern blight and basal rot. Place the plant on a saucer one water around a quarter deep, until thorough absorption. You may have to repeat this twice a week if needs be, especially with those grown in bright, warm locations. Under-watering symptoms include rapid flower loss and dry, crispy leaves - these issues are usually due to either forgetfulness, too much sunlight or too much heat. Even though an under-watered Gerbera is far better than a soggy one, never allow the soil to thoroughly dry out for too long as this could reduce the chance of new buds forming. Over-watering symptoms include rotting lower leaves, yellowing leaves, a loss of buds & flowers and root or crown rot. Allow most of the soil to dry out in between waters and prevent a pool of standing water accumulate beneath the pot. If yours has developed basal rot and grey mould across its soil, the likelihood is that the specimen will collapse within a few days and therefore should be discarded.


Humidity - 🔸🔸🔸

Average room humidity is enough to satisfy this plant, as long as you don't live in an overly-dry climate. Never situate it within a few metres of an operating radiator due to the enriched chance of browning leaf-tips. If you are indeed worried about dry air, create a humidity tray to provide a moist and stable environment for your plant, which will also have the added benefit of slowing the rates of drying soil!


Fertilisation - 🔸

We'd recommend fertilising your specimen once every two to four weeks in the spring and summer, and monthly thereafter using a 'Houseplant' or 'Streptocarpus' labelled feed. A general plant fertiliser is acceptable too, but remember to dilute the solution by half to prevent the burning of roots.




Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers

Provide a bright, and cool autumn and winter period around 15℃  (59℉)  to reinforce its dormancy. Keep the roots pot-bound to add further stress onto the specimen, which in turn will heighten the chance of flowering. Blooms will generally appear in the spring and summer months, during active growth. 

The following steps should be taken from early autumn until the end of winter. 


Sunlight & Location

Be sure to provide a bright location with no direct sunlight; those kept on a north, east or west-facing window is most happy. Avoid deep shade and the use of artificial lighting at night or locations that boast temperatures higher than 18℃  (64℉).


Hydration

Reduce waters so that at least half of the soil becomes dry. It's essential to keep them on the drier side to life, as they'll think that hard times are ahead and therefore will need to pass its genes on to the next generation.


Occasional Feeds

During the autumn and winter, fertilisation should be performed at monthly intervals with a 'Houseplant' or 'Streptocarpus' labelled feed. While the flowers are budding or in bloom, use a Tomato fertiliser to provide fortnightly nourishment of potassium.


Reduce Everything

This is to remind you that everything needs to be reduced - especially the temperature.


Temperature

This is the most significant step; reduce the temperature down by around 5℃ compared to the summertime or place in a room that's between 14º - 17℃  (57º - 62℉). You'll be at a significant disadvantage if the ambient temperature is kept constant throughout the year, as Sinningia will only respond in locations that have daily fluctuations of around 5℃. Never exceed the minimum temperature as it may lead to plant death or yellowed foliage at a bare minimum. If these steps are followed successfully, you could see a show of blooms in the following summer - but remember, dealing with nature may not always provide the results you'd relish.




Common Issues with Sinningia

Over-watering is the biggest issue, with typical signs of this include brown leaves with soft spots on the underside of the leaves, basal/crown rot or powdery mildew forming in the centre. Not only do you have to be mindful of these problems, but also have a think about which plant parts to keep dry. Its central crown must also remain dry at all times to prevent the development of basal rot or mildew. Avoid waterlogging; there's no point fulfilling the ukhouseplants' phrase, 'drenches in between near-droughts' if the base of the pot is submerged, as root rot will arise. For any more information about over-watering related issues, be sure to click on this link.

Too much sunlight will lead to sun scorch, with typical signs including browning or crispy leaves, dry leaf-edges, sunken leaves or stunted growth. Although too little light will cause over-watering issues, too much sunlight will negatively affect the plant as well. A location that offers over two hours of sunlight a day will bring the optimum growth for the Sinningia. If yours has fallen short of this issue, reduce the amount of sunlight considerably and always be mindful of environmental shock (when too locations offer too different growing conditions). Remove some of the affected leaves and increase irrigations slightly. Only hydrate the plant using the bottom-up method.

As mentioned before, powdery mildew and Botrytis are major threats among heavy foliaged plants due to the compact nature that aids the spread of the diseases. Watering above the foliage will allow excess moisture to sit in the cubbyholes of the stem, enticing harmful bacteria to thrive. Remove the affected areas and improve the growing conditions by situating the plant in a brighter location with the use of the bottom-up method of irrigation.

Dry soil is a big issue when cultivating Sinningia. Although they can withstand slight droughts over time, persistent dry spells will considerably weaken the plant, potentially causing death. Stunted growth and flower loss are the typical signs of under-watering, and if it doesn't bounce back after severe wilting, it may spell the end of its life. Be sure to avoid direct sunlight and potentially create a schedule if you're a forgetful gardener.

Failed leaf-cuttings are another common issue among gardeners. Not only does the size of the leaf matter, but the time in which propagation is done can greatly affect the rooting process. Cuttings should only be taken during the spring when the plant is most active. Be sure to use leaves that are at least 5cm (2 inches) in diameter as smaller specimens won't have enough stored energy to re-root. Provide a location that offers an adequate level of humidity and air circulation; you can achieve this by placing the potted cuttings in a transparent bag. Locking in air moisture around the leaf is vital to reduce the amount of water loss caused by respiration. If the cuttings are starting to rot, this is because of not enough light, over-watering or poor air circulation which must be dealt with immediately.




Origins

Gloxinia is a perennial genus of three species having natural distributions in the Andes of South America. They form part of the Gesneriaceae family that includes StreptocarpusAfrican Violets and Aeschyanthus. The genus was first formally described as Gloxinia in 1785 by Charles L'Héritier, honouring German botanist, Benjamin Peter Gloxin. The species, G. speciosa, was first described in 1817 by Conrad Loddiges, before being replaced by William Philip Hiern into Sinningia, sixty years later.


The Distribution of Sinningia speciosa.


Temperature

12° - 21°C  (53° - 70°F)
H1b (Hardiness Zone 12) - Can be grown outdoors during the summer in a sheltered location with temperatures above 12℃  (54℉),  but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure any direct sunlight as it may result in sun-scorch and dehydration. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.

To replicate its dormancy period, reduce the temperature between 15℃ - 18℃  (59 - 64℉)  during the colder months.


Spread

Up to 20cm in height & 25cm in width. The ultimate height will take around five years to achieve.


Pruning

Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean utensils or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health.


Propagation

Via Seed, Division or Leaf Cuttings.

Basal Offset Division (Easy) - The ideal time to divide is during the repotting period. Gently tease away some of the soil, and separate a few basal offsets which have its own root system. Place the plantlet in moist 'Houseplant' compost and be sure you don't submerge its leaves or basal cubbyhole into the soil. Keep the soil relatively moist and place it in a bright, indirect location to avoid the risk of dehydration (a common trait of death). This method can be relatively straightforward; however, be mindful of transplant shock, whereby its root systems are severely over-touched, which may result in excessive wilting. 

Leaf Cuttings (Easy to Moderate) - This method of propagation is by far the most enjoyable, and the easiest way to identically duplicate the original plant. High levels of 'Cytokinin' found in the leaves enable them to root and produce new lateral growths along its serrated wounds. Leaves that are at least 5cm long and part of an established plant are most successful. Use clean scissors and cautiously remove closely to the main stem, empathising the simpleness of the wound. Directly cut along the midrib (central column of the leaf) and place this end into the soil.

For its soil, choose a well-draining potting mix, ideally 'Houseplant' compost, but ordinary multipurpose with a splash of perlite is acceptable, too. Place the leaf sections wound-down in around an inch into the soil, applying slight pressure around the base of the leaf for support. Keep the pot in a sealed transparent bag to maintain high humidity and puncture a few small holes for air circulation. Open the bag every couple of days to monitor how the cuttings are performing and to check if the soil needs watering. If propagation is successful, you'll start to see new shoots surfacing the soil line after around eight weeks. Keep growing conditions moist and always avoid direct sunlight - do not let the soil thoroughly dry out or become waterlogged. Once the shoots are big enough to pot on (3 - 5 leaves on each growth), they may be potted up in 'Houseplant' compost or another well-draining potting mix in 7cm pots. Repot as necessary and care in the same way as adult specimens.


Flowers

Sinningia are perennial, with flowers typically appearing around May to October, but can bloom in any season. The individual flower can last up to six weeks, with the overall show can last several months. It's important not to allow moisture to sit on the flowers' cubbyholes, as Botrytis Petal Blight and basal rot are a serious threat among Sinningia growers.


Repotting

Repot biannually in spring using either a 'Houseplant', 'Streptocarpus' or 'Gesneriad' labelled potting mix and the next sized pot with adequate drainage holes. Sinningia are far better potbound for several years due to the heightened risk of root rot and repotting-issues (like transplant shock), so only repot if you feel it's wholly necessary - restricted root growth will also increase the chance of blooms, too.

Hydrate the plant 24hrs before the tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those situated in a darker location, introduce an extra amount of perlite and grit into the deeper portion of the pot to downplay over-watering risks. Click on this link for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.

If you're still unsure of what to do, never hesitate to send us an email or direct message on Instagram to get our expert advice on transplantation.


Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for mealybugs, aphids, scale, fungus gnats, blackfly, vine weevils & root mealybugs that'll locate themselves in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves, with the exception of the latter two in the soil. Common diseases associated with Sinningia are root rot, leaf-spot disease, Botrytis, rust, powdery mildew & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.


Toxicity

Not known to be poisonous when consumed by pets and humans. If large quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.


Retail Locations

Dibley's Online Store,  Online Stores.



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