Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Sun, 27 Dec 2009 14:59:25 PST
This posting should probably go to Alpine-L eventually. 


I inherited a small assortment of tiny sinningias years ago. And as others
have reported, I found them very easy to manage and very forgiving. 


I’ve never lost an interest in them, but perhaps for a reason which might
surprise you. I think they are ideal candidates for use as seasonal rock
garden plants. They have the sort of éclat we expect from the best rock
garden plants and they certainly fit in dimension-wise. But it is their ease
of cultivation and management which impress me. In our climate they thrive
under our growing-season conditions. And in the autumn when freezes
threaten, it’s a simple matter to scoop them up and pop them into a plastic
bag for the winter. Once the foliage is dormant, they don’t even need light.


It was these tiny sinningias which caused me to realize the potential of
gesneriads as rock garden and trough plants. After the vernal rush, our rock
gardens can be pretty dull. These tiny sinningias  (don’t many of them grow
on rocks or trees in the wild?)  fit right into the rock garden’s scheme of


I’m trying Achimenes for this purpose, too. And I’m making a list of other
gesneriads which might work – Smithiantha has also caught my eye. 


I know we have some keen gesneriad growers on this list; I hope more will
chime in and give me an idea of what to expect. 


Winter hardy gesneriads (other than Ramonda and kin) seem to be just out of
reach right now, but many are hardier than expected. Sinningia leucotricha
has survived here outside all year for years near a house wall. Maybe
raising them en masse will provide a few plants with enhanced hardiness. 


Jim McKenney


Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/

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