How to cultivate Gloxinia
Gloxinia is a plant belonging to the genus Sinningia and to the Gesneriaceae family. They are plants originating from South America that include about 20 species of herbaceous, perennial and tuberous plants. The leaves are deciduous, large, fleshy, opposite or verticillate, with serrated edges and covered by evident ribs and are covered by a thin down.
The flowers, tubular-bell-shaped, are velvety and variously colored, depending on the species and varieties.
In this card we will see how to cultivate the Gloxinia considering that these are delicate plants, so as to require the cultivation in a hot greenhouse, with the possibility of bringing them home for the period of flowering.
For this reason Gloxinia must be grown in bright places but without the direct rays of the sun and does not tolerate temperatures below 15 – 18 ° C.
The soil on which to cultivate this plant must be of medium texture tending to light, moist, soft, rich in organic and well-drained substance; in the case of the soil to be prepared for growing in pots it is good to prepare a substrate composed of universal soil mixed with silica sand.
The use of watering should be done regularly, without ever creating stagnation, and should be intensified during the summer months; with the arrival of autumn the water intakes must be gradually decreased to suspend them completely when the plant loses its leaves and enters vegetative rest.
For the fertilization it is necessary to operate in different way if the cultivation is in full ground or in pot. In the open ground it is always good to supply well-unified organic substances at the end of the winter period to be mixed with the first layers of cultivated soil and covering it with a state of the same. For the fertilization in pots instead it is necessary to prepare or renew (in the case of repotting) a good organic soil mixed with sand and then, from March to October, it is necessary to administer liquid fertilizer for flowering plants diluted in the watering water.
As far as the propagation of Gloxinia is concerned, this is carried out by cutting leaf and dividing the rhizomes.
It is preferable to operate with the rhizome division which is safer and, in fact, more used.
The technique consists in dividing, in the period of March, the tubers of Gloxinia into two parts, using a well sharpened and disinfected knife. Each portion should be planted in a new pot a few cm larger than the previous one and covered with a thin layer of universal soil that should be kept constantly moist until the first shoots appear.
For the extraction instead of the tubers of Gloxinia it is necessary to wait for the aerial part to be completely dried; at this point the tubers must be extracted from the soil and allowed to dry in the air; once dried they should be stored in a dry and dark place, with temperatures around 10 – maximum 12 ° C, until the time of planting in a vase. The tubers have a good vitality and can be kept for up to 3 years.
On the other hand, in reference to parasitic diseases or insect attacks, we remind you that Gloxinia can be subject to root rot if it is exceeded with water supplies, especially if they generate stagnation in the pots. Even rust, which is manifested by leaf stains and gray mold, can be caused by waterings that incautiously caused the wetting of the leaves and flowers.
Among the insects the most fearsome are glia aphids, especially with the first spring humidity. To avoid these attacks we must avoid the use of fertilizers based on nitric nitrogen and provide for their elimination with light sprays based on Marseille soap.
In any case it is always good to avoid wetting flowers and leaves and places with temperatures below 18 °.
Moreover it is good, also from an aesthetic point of view, to remove the dried leaves the flowers that gradually wither away that are receptacle of parasites and cryptogams. If the leaves curl this means that the plant has been too exposed to the sun.
Among the different species of Gloxinia we recall:
– Sinningia cardinalis: this species, which reaches 15-30 cm. tall, has cordate-obovate leaves and erect stems. In summer it produces scarlet tubular flowers.
– Sinningia caulescens: reaches 30 cm. of height this plant from the elongated and opposite leaves and from the flowers of a beautiful blue load.
– Sinningia eumorpha: native to Brazil, this species has green-bronze tomentose leaves and drooping flowers (up to 5 cm wide), of a milky white color, with lilac and yellow nuances in the throat, which appear in May-June or October. It grows up to 15-20 cm. in height and 25-30 cm. wide.
– Sinningia leucotricha: this plant with tomentose leaves, white-silver in color, has erect stems that, in summer, bear salmon-colored tubular flowers.
– Sinningia pusilla: small-sized species, reaching a maximum height of 5 cm. It forms tiny rosettes of brownish-green leaves and produces small pink-lilac tubular flowers.
– Sinningia regina: this species with typical tomentose leaves is native to Brazil due to the color of the lamina: green-bronze with white veins on the upper page; red on the lower page. In May-June it produces hanging purple-purple flowers, up to 5 cm long.
– Sinningia speciosa or Gloxinia speciosa: the typical species, originating from Brazil, has large leaves with an ovate-oblong shape, fleshy consistency and with a tomentose lamina and dark green color. The stem is almost absent and from May to August produces many flowers, up to 5-10 cm long. of violet or purple color. Currently on the market there are many hybrids that show more showy and large flowers than those of the typical species, simple or double and of variable color from white to pink, to red, to purple. Among these we find: “Mont Blanc”, with white flowers; “Emperor Federik”, which produces scarlet flowers with white margins; “Emperor William”, with blue and white flowers along the edges of the lobes; “Tiger Red”, with deep red flowers with rippled lobes.
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