TOW Sinningia
Thu, 20 Nov 2003 15:03:21 PST
Dear All,

Another favourite genus! Being a member of both the American Gloxinia and 
Gesneriad Society (AGGS)   and the Swedish Gesneriad 
Society (contact Mrs Lindskog:, I would like to spread 
the information about these societies. Both are relatively small specialist 
societies and they are VERY friendly. Both run a magificent seed fund, the AGGS 
seed fund lists so many entries I absolutely never heard of, including both 
Sinningia species and hybrid seed. Both societies also have regular 
publications, the swedish one contains an addition with an english translation 
of the most important articles and all the photographs are commented in 
English, too.
There is also another very good adress for Sinningias in Brazil: Mauro Peixoto.  He has a well done home page with 
good photographs of many Sinningia species and other plants together with short 
cultural and habitat information. He also offers seed, I ordered this spring 
and got good quality, most plants bloomed the first year from seed. He also 
guides botanical tours in Brazil.

Personally I think that Sinningias and other Gesneriads are plants with a lot 
of future. The great advantage is that they have a very long flowering season 
compared to Amaryllids or Irids. Some Kohleria Hybrids do in fact flower year 
round given the right condition. Most Sinningias are also perfect house plants, 
the very large and thin leaved ones may suffer from dry air, though, but there 
are so many that come from hot and exposed rock habitats that makes  them cope 
with ease with indoor condition.
Many Sinningias go dormant in winter and can be tucked away, but, having learnt 
through losses most do not want to be bone dry for months on end.

They are also underrated foliage plants. For example Sinningea speciosa 
'Reginae' has dark green velvety leaves with white veins, together with its 
dark purple flowers a stunning plant and NOT difficult to grow. It was used in 
hybridisation to produce white veined giant florists 'Gloxinias' but these seem 
to have disappeared. Many other Sinningias and Gesneriads have velvety hairy 
leaves that look very attractive even without flowers, often contrasted with 
brightly coloured bristly hairs.

My Sinningia collection is too young to really jugde but the impression I have 
is that they are long lived and can form an impressive caudex that makes them 
look very exotic, some look like a little shrub sitting on a bottle.

This summer was excellent hot and dry for Germany and many Gesneriads were in 
the open garden for the first time. It produced excellent results and most can 
take far more direct sun than expected, this produces plants of compact habit 
with well coloured flowers. I can't say I really like the look of the plants 
grown under artificial lights. But of course I understand if there is no choice 
it is better than not growing them at all but I can only encourage anybody 
interested in these groups of plants to try some outside in his or her climate 
to see how it works. I have not bothered testing for hardiness as our winters 
are too unstable: the constant change of frost and rain and mild weather and 
frost again will kill them, I am sure.

Have fun with Sinningias! Uli

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