Sinningia x hybrida

The large, beautiful flowers make Gloxinia one of the most popular house plants. The large, velvety leaves, wrinkled along the veins, are also attractive. The trumpet-like flowers, up to 5 cm (2 inch) in length, have a long tube opening into five wavy lobes. The illustrated hybrid, descended from S. speciosa, has given rise to innumerable cultivars, differing mainly in the colour of the flowers. These are various combinations and shades of pink, red, violet and blue. There are also some with ‘crinkly’ flowers. This plant is commonly called Gloxinia, which is, in fact, the scientific name of a closely related genus.

It is usually grown only for short term decoration in the home, but the tubers may be lifted and overwintered in a cool, dry place and then replanted in nourishing compost in spring. A mixture of frame soil, leaf mould, peat, sand and charcoal is recommended. Feed regularly with organic fertilizer. Water liberally to keep the compost moist but do not allow the water to come into contact with the leaves because they rot quickly. Propagate by sowing seed on sterile peat. Alternatively, take whole leaves and insert the stalks in a mixture of sand and chopped peat in a propagator.

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