Monday, November 19, 2007

Seemannia nematanthodes "Evita"

This stunning red flowered gesneriad came from Plant Delights as Gloxinia nematanthodes "Evita". They got it from Argentina, and it is apparently hardy for them in Raliegh, NC. I grow it as a pot plant, and dry it off for winter. It resprouts when watered again in spring, and during its second summer it really took off, producing scores of the brightest red flowers imaginable. When I lifted the pot to bring in from the cold, numerous runners were found wandering over the surface and rooting into the nearby ground. It is still flowering and setting seed in my classroom as I write this.
I propagated some small plants of it, and one was left outside under a brugmansia against the wall of the school garden. It had a few flowers in late summer/fall and I am leaving it out in the hopes its underground rhizomes will survive the winter in this protected location.
Seemannia nematanthodes does well in part sun, good soil, and with decent watering during its growing season. The flowers get started in mid to late summer and keep going as long as the plant is still growing, until it needs to go dormant sometime in late fall or early winter. Each flower is a bright jewel like ornament, and it is free flowering. Considering its bold beauty and ease of growth with its potential for very rapid multiplication--via spreading rhizomes (both on the surface, where they may be as fine as threads, and underground where they are sometimes thicker) and cuttings, it should be a lot more popular in American gardens and containers in the future.

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