Sinningia – Caudex Succulents related to African Violets
Sinningias are a member of the Gesneriad (Gesneriaceae) family. They are also known as Gloxinia. They are tropical species and most are native to Brazil. They are beautiful caudex forming plants with flowers in different colors and shapes. Sinningia leucotricha (syn. Rechsteineria leucotricha, Sinningia canescens, Gesneria canescens) is a popular Sinningia with stunning silvery leafs. The caudex of this Sinningia can grow to a diameter of around 25 cm. A very interesting succulant and also suitable as houseplant.
Sinningia Care – How do I grow and care for Sinningia plants?
As mentioned above, Sinningias are tropical plants. They need temperatures between 18-25 C for good growth. We maintain minimum temperatures of 8-10C in winter. The plant will drop her leafs and will sprout new leafs from the caudex in spring when temperatures go up.
Make sure you keep your Sinningia plants dry during winter in the greenhouse. If you keep your Sinningias warm during winter then they will keep their leafs and they need water. If you want your Sinningia to flower then its crucial to get the plant in a dormant winter state. Let the caudex (tuber) rest for a couple of months by slowly reducing waterings and temperatures. You can reduce your lighting when the sinningia tubers are at rest.
After the period of rest your Sinningia will grow new leafs and older plants can flower again. We usually water our Sinningias weekly. We add some succulent fertilizer to the water on a monthly basis. Slowly increase lighting. Sinningias like good but indirect light. Be careful with direct sun.
Sinningias can be propagated from seeds and cuttings. We germinate our Sinningia seeds all year round under artificial LED lighting at 24C. We use 6 cm deep seed trays filled with fine cocos soil. We mix in some 1-2 mm gravel to enhance drainage. We let the tray soak up water from beneath untill all is moist but not soaking wet. The seeds are very small and they should not be covered with soil or gravel. You can divide the over the moist soil and then cover the seed tray with a transparent lid.
Germination is in 2-4 weeks usually but can take up to several months sometimes, depending on seed quality. Sinningia seedlings are tiny and sensitive to environmental changes. Keep the seed tray moist at all times and remove the lid twice a day (1-2 minutes) for ventilation. This will help prevent fungal growth.
When the Sinningia seedlings get bigger you can ventilate longer and more often. You may reduce waterings and start to water the plants from above instead from below.