Monday, November 19, 2007

Sinningia sp "gertiana"

This most odd sinningia species, tentatively given the name gertiana until it is validly published, is an intriguing plant. Found in Parana state in Brazil, it has been introduced into the USA via gesneriad enthusiasts. I got my plant at a local meeting of the American Gloxinia and Gesneriad Society, now simply the American Gesneriad Society. From that little scraggly rooted cutting I now have a large plant in a hanging basket and innumerable offspring, many of which were produced and given away during a plant propagation workshop I held in my school during our "seminar day" last spring. It is the simplest of plants to grow and propagate, and has no true dormant season since it lacks the tuber most other sinningias have. It will, however, lose a lot of leaves if it is run on the dry side during winter. Foliage grows lushly during summer when the plant gets copious water and fertilizer. Cuttings root easily when simply stuck into perlite or potting soil. The flowering of this plant is the challenge--it seems to set a few flower buds as the nights get cooler outside, and a few flowers appear during October and, indoors, in November from previously set buds. I imagine it might be more floriferous in a cool greenhouse, but it obviously needs either short days and/or cool temps to set flower buds. I've heard that it needs to get large to flower, but that is not true as I have a small plant in a styrofoam cup with a single open flower right now in my school. Even though it is miserly with its blooms, each one is a work of art, with delicate fine purple etchings on a white background. Plus who can resist an easy to grow rarity that it so new to science that it doesn't even have a formal name yet.

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