Sinningia hardiness reports

Floral Architecture
Tue, 21 Jun 2005 09:39:39 PDT
Here are some recent reports from the gesneriphile list on Sinningias. The first is from Don T. in Central NC, z7.
"Greetings all.

I've downgraded the conventional (green-leaved) form of S. sellovii to
'marginal' in my hardiness trials.  I've seen it survive, and heard reports
of the same, but also had large plantings succumb during years when other
species endured.  I've got only one hybrid of it left growing (a cross w/ S.
species 'Esmeril', but it is somewhat swamped by another species right now
(which one?  See below!).

I've not tried 'Purple Rain' for hardiness yet (but would like to!!).

S. elatior, which is back this year, is a bit banged up and might rank
'marginal' also.  I'll continue to evaluate, maybe in some different
exposures.  I've lost it before, so the marginality is probably an accurate

S. curtiflora is an absolute thug and is choking everything else, except
maybe --

S. warmingii, which is just plain taller.  Doesn't spread like S.
curtiflora.  I'm anticipating some big tubers under there, when I dig them
up to separate them from the S. curtiflora jungle.

S. sceptrum is back in force, no evidence of cold damage, not yet surrounded
by S. curtiflora like some others, so still going strong and sure to bloom
this summer again.

S. tubiflora is back, but without the vigor of some others.  I remain
baffled by this plant and achieve only sporadic blooming (and never

S. lineata is back, and the one I planted in the shade is actually blooming!
Very cool.  The one in the sun is getting fried--I need to save it.  Stay
tuned for a picture of this species outside.

Now I must cross everything I can w/ S. lineata--it's got such a neat habit
and pretty waxy blooms that I want to use it as a basis for some garden
plants.  The shade tolerance is a big plus in my garden also.  One of the
big drawbacks is slow maturation--my specimen is on year three or four and
only now blooming.

Of note, none of these has been nibbled by the omnipresent deer yet.  Not
true for my Hosta, Lilium, or Hydrangea, sadly . . ."
More from the same person:
"I would advocate S. curtiflora as a candidate for extreme hardiness
(relatively speaking, of course).  It makes stringy tuber collections that
run all over the bed, just barely beneath the surface.  These clearly get
frozen and thawed all winter, but are always intact in the spring and grow
quite well.  

S. warmingii seems to be very durable also.

Tony Avent is just down the road from here (well, he's in Raleigh, and I'm
in Durham, so nearly the same).  I expect his observations and mine will
approximately coincide.  We interacted a while back regarding potentially
hardy Gloxinias, though nothing ever came of it (and I don't think any are
very hardy).

One of the keys to hardiness I think is good vigorous growth during the warm
months to prepare the tuber with lots of stored sugar, etc.  Additional size
doesn't hurt in that regard either.

I'm working hard to get S. tubiflora crossed with S. lineata, which should
be a great hardy foundation stock for hybridization.  Darned S. tubiflora
just wont' bloom regularly enough . . ."

Now this is from Jon D. further up the coast in Wash, D.C.:
"Much to my surprise, as I was cleaning up a flower bed
yesterday I found several Sinningia sellovii
sprouting.  There are numerous shoots several inches
apart so I think more than one tuber must have
survived (I think I planted 3 tubers).  I had planted
these last year and never dug them up in the fall and
never gave them much protection, except for some
fallen leaves.  The tag has been lost but from their
dark leaves with purplish undersides I believe they
are S. sellovii 'Purple Rain'.  I also had a standard
S. sellovii in the same spot (one of the GRF numbers,
I believe) but there is no sign of it.  My garden soil
is rather heavy with a lot of clay and stays very wet
in the winter, so it's very encouraging to have
something like this survive.

None of the S. sellovii x S. tubiflora F2 seedlings
that I left in the ground appear to have survived, but
I guess I shouldn't rule anything out!  I did dig up
to overwinter indoors a couple of the F2 tubers that
had flowers I liked, so maybe I will try backcrossing
those to the hardy S. sellovii for a series of hardier
And another post by the same person later:
"A brief update to my earlier comments:

1. I found the tag buried next to the sprouting plants
so I can confirm that the S. sellovii that survived is
'Purple Rain'.  Despite coming up so late the plants
look healthy and fairly vigorous so I fully expect
them to bloom this year.

2. Still no sign of the other form of S. sellovii that
I planted out last year.

3. It looks like at least one of my F2 seedlings of
the S. sellovii x S. tubiflora cross has survived;
there's one shoot just starting to come up near the
spot where I planted several tubers last year, and I
can't figure out what else it might be.

4. The Raphiocarpus petelotii that survived the winter
have sprouted but I don't expect them to amount to
anything.  I don't know what the problem is; the same
thing happened in previous years--even though they
survive the winter and sprout in the spring, they just
don't grow well or amount to anything in their second
So, I would think that everyone shoudl be able to grow sinningias in their gardens from Wash, DC to Portland, OR. Tony Advent does have a huge inventory of sinningias under trial. Tony, can you give us any update of yoru winter survival rates? Inquiring minds want to know. 
The other co, that has them for sale, other than myself is Yucca Do. They have a really nice selection of the species. Not all the same that the above two gentlemen have reported. 

Sorry for the long post but I want everyone to be unindated with Sinningia info so that they will be grown more often. I have some seeds that I will be sending to Dell soon for distribution. I hope everyone will try them. 
And ALberto, if you have any fresh seeds available, I know I'd love to try some more. 

John Ingram in L.A., CA. "Your Clivia Connection"
310.709.1613 (cell, west coast time, please call accordingly. Thank you)

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