Sinningia hardiness reports

Tony Avent
Thu, 23 Jun 2005 07:42:52 PDT

	The possibilities of hardy sinningias (other gesneriads also) have been
overlooked because the plants came to market primarily as house plants.
Because they have few sexual limitations, even with other genera, the
hybridization possibilities are endless.  We are finding many begonias
species that also have great winter hardiness.  So many plants, so little

At 09:06 AM 6/23/2005 -0400, you wrote:
>John, Tony and others, I'm really intrigued by this. I had no idea there
>were so many possibilities. 
>This posting really should be going to Alpine-L, but the issue of hardy
>gesneriads came up here, so I'm responding here. 
>I've been toying with the idea of using gesneriads (not necessarily hardy
>ones) as rock garden plants. It's not as crazy as it sounds: after all, many
>of these plants are saxicolous in nature. And one of the longest cultivated
>(since the beginning of the seventeenth century and maybe before that) rock
>garden plants is a gesneriad: Ramonda. Years ago, I inherited a friend's
>plant collection. Among the plants: some dwarf Sinningia. These have turned
>out to be so easy to manage that I've been looking for ways to use them in
>the garden. 
>The possibility of developing reliably garden hardy strains of Sinningia and
>other gensneriads really gets me going! So many of these plants have the
>sort of growth habit associated with alpines: neat, tight growth and
>disproportionately large flowers.  And then there are the sorts with upright
>spikes of bloom, somewhat like Penstemon. If we could depend on them to take
>care of themselves outside it would open new horizons for rock gardeners. It
>would give those of us who garden in the summer muggy east a very good
>reason to take the summer rock garden seriously. It might provide us with an
>identity of our own as rock gardeners, give the rest of the world something
>to come and see and (shame on me) envy. 
>The thought of a late summer rock face spangled with the brilliant red,
>blue, and purple slippers of Sinningia nestled in mats of Selaginella and
>accented with racemes of rusty reds in the style of Smithiantha - this
>really fires my imagination. 
>Keep testing, Tony and others: I'm anxiously awaiting the results!
>Jim McKenney
>Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I'm ready for the
>"Miracle Houseplants" to become the new miracle garden plants. 
>pbs mailing list
Tony Avent
Plant Delights Nursery @
Juniper Level Botanic Garden
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, NC  27603  USA
Minimum Winter Temps 0-5 F
Maximum Summer Temps 95-105F
USDA Hardiness Zone 7b
phone 919 772-4794
fax  919 772-4752
"I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it least
three times" - Avent

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