Sinningia speciosa 

(sin-nin' gee-ah spee-cee-o' sah)

Common name: Florist's Gloxinia

Family: Gesneriaceae, Gesneriad

Height x width: 12" x 12"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: scalloped, dark green, 8-12" long in rosettes, velvety hairy, often reddish below

Flowers: clustered, upright or nodding, bell-shaped flowers 2-3" long; reds, purples, white; single or occasionally double in some cultivars; sometimes with spotting or marking; velvety; generally of two groups: Fyfiana are upright, Maxima are nodding.

Light: bright

Temperature: average to warm

Watering: well-watered

Fertility: high

Humidity: humid, not direct on leaves

Soil: well-drained

Pests and Problems: tuber rot, viruses (photo courtesy of CSU Extension), nematodes, botrytis gray mold, aphids, spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, leaf miners; rot from too cold and wet; leaves rolled upwards indicate dry air; leaves scorch from direct sun; leaves spot from water as from misting

Growth habit, uses: popular flowering houseplant

Other interest: native to Brazil; from tubers; named for 19th century Prussian horticulturist Wilhelm Sinning

Other culture: after flowering and leaves die off, store tuber dry and cool, repot in spring and keep moist, well-watered once growth resumes; plant tuber with top at soil surface--too deep and it will rot; handle delicately as leaves are fragile and break at petioles easily

Propagation: leaf or shoot cuttings with bottom heat in wet sand, seeds

Related species:

canescens (ca-ness' cens)--upright, densely wooly; obovate, dull green hairy leaves to 6" long; narrow, tubular, pink flowers 1" long

cardinalis (car-di-nal' iss)--ovate, scalloped, opposite hairy leaves 3-6" long; rich red, erect, tubular flower 2" long

conspicua (con-spic' uu-ah)--heart-shaped to ovate, scalloped hairy leaves 4" long; light yellow nodding flowers slightly fragrant 2" long

eumorpha (uu-more' fah)--heart-shaped to ovate, scalloped 4" leaves in rosettes; nodding, bell-shaped white with lavender 2" flowers


pusilla (pue-sil' lah)--opposite, ovate olive green leaves ½" long from stems from pea-sized tubers; nodding tubular flowers ¾" flowers, lilac with white throats

regina (re-gii' nah)--opposite, ovate to elliptic, finely scalloped and dark green leaves; trumpet-shaped purple 2" flowers


Mostly seen are hybrids among several of the above species, with speciosa as a common parent and so they are listed under it. Of the several dozen commercially available, the following are common representatives.

Double Brocade hybrids--mixed, doubles

Empress hybrids--mixed

'Royal Velvet'--purple

'Switzerland'--red flowers, wavy white margins

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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