How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Gloxinia Flowering Plants

Gloxinia plants can be a wonderful addition to any home or home garden. Their flowers are bright, and the plants are generally easy to care for. They do, however, require some specific needs to be met in order to make sure they flourish. In this article, you’ll learn all about how to plant, grow, and care for Gloxinia.

Are you thinking of growing your own gorgeous garden of Gloxinia plants? Or perhaps you want to bring them indoors and enjoy the colorful plants as new additions to your home decor. Either way, you’re going to need to learn the tips and tricks to help you care for the Gloxinia plants adequately.

They aren’t very high-maintenance plants, and they offer you a pleasant bloom time and time again. You can learn about the species and what gloxinias need to thrive at your home.

Find out its light, watering, and fertilizer needs to determine if you can create the perfect set up to foster growth, as well as many other critical factors. If you’re having problems with your plant and you can’t quite figure out what’s wrong, the answer to your questions might get resolved in this grower’s guide.

Gloxinia Overview

Purple and White Gloxinia Flower
Gloxinia blooms very vibrant flowers that come in a number of colors.
Plant Type
Tropical and Perennial (best grown as an Annual)
Botanical Name
Sinningia
Common Name
Gloxinia
Size When Mature
6-10 Inches
Hardiness Zone
USDA 11-12
Plant Maintenance
Medium
pH Level
5.5-6.5, Acidic
Soil Type
Well-Draining
Bloom Period
Summer
Flower Color
Pink, White, Blue, Purple, Red
Sun Exposure
Partial Shade
Origin
Brazil
Pests
Mealybugs, Aphids, Whiteflies, Scale
Diseases
Late Blight, Tuber Rotation, Wilt Virus, Phytophthora Crown Rot, Fusarium

Gloxinia

Red Flowers in a Garden
These vibrant plants die back after they bloom, so many people now purchase hybrids of the plant to see a recurring bloom.

Not many years ago, the gloxinia houseplant, also known as a Sinningia Speciosa, was considered a perennial. These interesting specimens would die back after they’d bloomed. After a dormant phase, the gloxinia would grow again, delivering a new and fresh bouquet of their signature big, bright flowers.

Today, you’ll find that most gloxinia house plants are hybrids. They are cultivated to produce a high quantity of blossoms rapidly. While they provide a gorgeous display for two months, you won’t get much more after that.

Typically, the flowers will fade, and the plant will not bloom again. That is because the plant uses up all of its energy to help the flowers grow, and little attention goes to the roots.

That being the case, it’s important to keep in mind that you will lose this plant after its blooming period expires. If you want to optimize the beauty of your plant, your primary focus for gloxinia is to keep it healthy while it blooms.

Characteristics

Red Purple and White Flowers in a Garden
Gloxinias have fuzzy leaves and grow vibrant flowers in red, purple, blue, pink, and white.

The hybrid gloxinias will help you reach your gardening goals in no time. They’re small plants that grow fast and don’t require a ton of maintenance. These plants have huge, soft, dark green leaves that remind you of African Violets or Wild Violets because of their large bell shape.

The leaves also have a fuzzy texture with an oblong shape, and they’re toothed as well.

Gloxinias also come in a beautiful array of colors such as blue, red, pink, and purple. Sometimes they even have white spots or fringes as well. You can get them as single or double flowers, and they make excellent staple pieces in the home as a centerpiece for your table or an elegant windowsill plant.

Gloxinia is a flowering plant from the tropical region of Brazil. The plant’s flowers can grow close to two inches long sitting atop the leaves that can get as long as six inches. These hybrids tend to stay compact and small, only averaging between six and ten inches in length. The spread is also equal.

This factor makes for easy portability whether you want to keep them indoors or move them around to different places in your yard or garden.

Sinningia Speciosa or Gloxinia?

White and Pink Sinningia Speciosa Flowers
Gloxinia is a broad name used to describe all of the plants that fall under this genus.

So, you’ll notice that the terms Gloxinia and Sinningia Speciosa will get used interchangeably. That is because horticulturists will use the word gloxinia as a more broad name to discuss plants that fall under this genus.

If you plan to buy a gloxinia from a nursery or specialty house plant retailer, you should know the technical term is Sinningia Speciosa. Though it was previously under the gloxinia genus, it got reclassified under the Sinningia genus as the hybrids became more popular.

Despite being a part of two different genera, it is a member of the same plant family – the Gesneriaceae. And also, even though the classification got altered, they are both still referred to as simply gloxinia.

If you want to make sure you get the specific species we are providing tips for, make sure the label on the tubers or seeds also says Sinningia Speciosa.

For the most part, the majority of the gloxinias that get housed in retail shops are hybrids bred to produce larger flowers and more plentiful blossoms than the original native Speciosa plant.

Nonetheless, a gloxinia hybrid is still a worthwhile investment because it can help you get your feet wet in the world of gardening and complement your decor.

Caring For A Gloxinia Sinningia Speciosa Hybrid

Light, water, temperature, humidity, and fertilizers are the main factors to consider when caring for your gloxinia.

There are a few other considerations that you will need to take into account, and you should learn the common problems that come with having a gloxinia plant.

Growing Conditions

Pink Plant on a Shelf Indoors
These pretty plants can grow indoors or outdoors but are more common as indoor houseplants.

As we mentioned before, though most people throughout the United States grow gloxinias indoors as a houseplant, you can also grow them outside. However, similar to Zinnia plants, this is contingent on living in a warm climate and your ability to keep the gloxinia away from full sunlight.

Light

Baby Gloxinia Plant in Sunshine
Indirect sunlight is best for your growing gloxinia.

The gloxinia plant does not thrive under direct light. You should not expose your plant to direct sunlight, or else you will dry out its leaves and thus decrease its lifespan.

Your plant should be in a bright spot where there is indirect sunlight. If you grow your gloxinia plant indoors, try to regulate the temperatures and keep it between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit; that’s 16-24 degrees Celsius.  

How to Get Your Gloxinias to Rebloom

Budding Pink Flowers
Hybrids of the gloxinia plant now allow the flowers to bloom more than once.

If you aren’t familiar with the life cycle of a gloxinia hybrid plant, you might think that the plant is dead once the bloom is over. Remember that the gloxinia will go through a period of dormancy before it starts blooming again.

To encourage reblooming, you can cut away everything except the two leaves on the bottom of the plant once it has finished blooming. You will notice that eventually, side branches will sprout, and blooming will start again.

After your plant has bloomed for a second time, you will cut off the vegetation down to the top of the soil. Allow the tuber to rest for a couple of months in a space with little light at room temperature.

During this time, you just need to water your plant often enough to ensure that it doesn’t get dried out, especially in the hotter months.

After three months, you should start watering your plant a little more. Keep it in a warm and bright spot with a temperature over 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually, the life cycle will start over.

Tray Trick

In this case, you don’t have to use the tray trick, where you fill it with water and pebbles to increase the humidity surrounding the plant. You don’t want to risk waterlogging your gloxinia or making it susceptible to diseases and pests.

With a bit of rest, your gloxinia will start to rebloom. The type of gloxinia you will get from the florist is probably the Sinningia Speciosa, but other species also have beautiful reblooms.

Take the Sinningia Pusilla, for example; it has 0.5-inch flowers with a delicate lilac color. These types of gloxinias can tolerate higher humidity levels, and they still come in a small size, though a little larger than the Sinningia Speciosa.

The Sinningia Cardinalis is also an excellent choice, being lovely tubular flowers with a deep scarlet tint. So, while the Sinningia Speciosa is the most popular choice for resale, there are a few other good choices that you could bring into your home, equally breathtaking.

Soil

Baby Gloxinia Plants in Moist Soil
Moist soil is best for gloxinia to thrive.

One of the most critical rules to growing a Gloxinia is to always keep the soil around it moist while it grows and blooms.

If you decide to repot your plant once the bloom is over, scale back the watering, allow the leaves to die, and then move the plant to a new pot. You can start the watering process again once it has sprouted.

Make sure you use a somewhat acidic potting mix that’s well-draining and loose. An African Violet soil mix is an optimal choice.

Water

Fresh Bud With Water Droplets
Gloxinias have very unique watering needs, and it is important to understand what they are.

We can’t stress enough the importance of understanding your plant’s watering needs. The gloxinia plant cannot tolerate conditions that are too dry or too wet.

You have to constantly monitor the moisture levels and irrigation to keep the plant productive and healthy. Try these helpful tips:

1. Every two or three days, you need to feel around the base of your plant to check the soil. Only water the gloxinia when the soil seems dry beyond a half-inch.

2. Use lukewarm water and pour it into a shallow dish, sitting it under the gloxinia pot when you’re trying to irrigate plants you’re growing in the container.

The soil will absorb the hydration through the holes in the bottom of the pot. Eventually, the soil will become moist at the top after around thirty minutes. You can then remove the water dish.

3. For outdoor gloxinias, you will also use lukewarm water and pour it into the soil directly instead of letting the soil absorb the water like with the potted plant.

Make sure that you keep the leaves dry during this process. The first six inches of soil should be moist once you’re finished.

4. Use an organic fertilizer when the dormancy period is over and the bloom is about to restart.

Choose a soluble, low-nitrogen fertilizer at half strength. Using too much nitrogen causes the flower petals to suffer, even if it makes the leaves lusher.

Temperature and Humidity

White and Purple Flowers
The humidity levels and temperature directly affect your plant’s growing capability.

Dry heat is a big no for these plants, as they should be in more humid environments, hovering between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. To boost the humidity around your plant, spray a light mist on the roots or stems.

Remember that spraying the leaves will cause discoloration, diseases, and even fungal growth. You might also want to consider purchasing a humidifier to assist with the humidity levels if spraying seems tedious.

Fertilizer

Baby Plant in a Pot
Proper fertilizer should be used in growing months and discontinued in dormant months.

Use peat-lite fertilizers with your gloxinia plant, and swap them out with a calcium nitrate fertilizer every once in a while. You can try controlled-release plant food as well.  They will contain vital vitamins and nutrients for your gloxinias.

Don’t overdo it with the fertilizer because it can cause cupped, bluish-green, or curled foliage. If the leaves are yellow, that means there’s a deficiency, and you aren’t giving the gloxinia enough fertilizer. Reduce fertilizer use in the dormant phase.

Pruning

Purple Flowers Close Up
Gloxinia plants need to be pruned so new blooms can grow.

To prune your gloxinia, snip off the spent flowers from the bottom of the stem. Be careful around the leaves in this area because you can easily damage them. If the plant is new, take off the healthy stem, and make a little cut on it at 45 degrees.

Next, stick the healthy stem into a porous potting soil mix and light. It will suffer rot if the soil is too wet. Put this new pot in an area that’s cool and bright, away from direct sunlight. You won’t be able to move the new plant for four to five months.

Make sure you watch out for insects and keep the plant in an organized and clean space.

Propagating Gloxinia Sinningia Hybrids

Blooming Purple Flowers
It is ideal to use cuttings from spring blooms to propagate your gloxinia.

It’s possible to propagate by seeds, stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and tubers. Spring plantings are the only ideal situation for tubers; moreover, plants from tubers are in flower after four months.

Making flowering plants from seeds will take about six months; the time depends on the seasons at play. For example, gloxinias grow much faster in the summer than in the winter.

Interestingly enough, plants that have been grown from seeds have shorter internodes. Internodes refer to the area of a stem between the points where the leaf attaches. That results in a more attractive and compact aesthetic.

Growing Media: Gloxinias will respond best to a mix that has 50 percent sifted peat. Use a sieve with quarter-inch openings. The remainder of the mixture should be coarse sand, a little vermiculite, and perlite. The pH level should be 5.5 to 6.5.

Potting a tuber requires you to make sure the hollow part is on the top and very near the upper surface of the mix. Delicately pack the soil around the tuber and water generously many times. Remember, never pack any growing medium when wet.

Gloxinia Sinningia Hybrids From Seeds

Tiny Seedlings Growing in Soil
It can take up to six months from planting for your gloxinia to bloom from seeds.

The first thing to take note of is the fact that these seeds are tiny and fine. Be attentive when opening the seed packet.

When growing your Sinningia Speciosa seeds, begin sowing them from December until February. This is necessary because it will take approximately six months to bloom.

Fully grown gloxinias on display at your local garden center are astonishing and worth their price. However, growing them from seeds is always a viable option if you wish to save some money.

Gardeners doing this must remember that the roots are delicate and that the plant can be challenging to transfer to a larger container. It’s recommended to sow the seeds in a 4 to 6-inch pot to give it room to mature into full size.

Planting Seeds

Procure some African violet potting soil and fill the pot to approximately 1 1/2 inches. Using a screen, sift an additional 1/2 inch of soil on top of the pot. This method ensures that the delicate roots won’t have trouble through the soil when the seeds germinate.

Before pressing the seeds gently onto the soil’s surface, be sure that you moisten the soil. Don’t bury the seeds as they need light to germinate.

Take the pot and place it in a plastic bag. Seal the top to allow the air to be humid and the soil moist. Keep the surrounding temperatures at about 75°F in a light place, however not in direct sunlight.

Plant Growth

Within about a month or so, your seedlings will develop two pairs of leaves. Each seedling should be placed into a 4-inch pot. This can be done by gently digging around the plant with a fork and removing each tuber along with its roots.

In approximately three to four days, the seeds will germinate. At soon as you notice this, open the bag and completely remove it for a week. If you discover that the soil looks and feels dry, be sure to mist the soil.

Planting Tips

  • Put a tray with water under the container until the soil is moist. Do this every 2 to 3 days.
  • Water once every 3 to 4 days; moisture is key.
  • Once germination begins, increase sunlight exposure.
  • After the plant has grown into the pot, transfer it into a 5 or 6-inch pot.
  • When the buds begin to surface, increase the watering amount.
  • Increase watering to two to three times per week during blooming.
  • Continue adding liquid food once a week.

Potting and Repotting Gloxinia Sinningia Hybrids

Young Gloxinia Plants in Pots
It is best to repost gloxinias during dormant months.

Repotting the gloxinia should not be performed during the growing season. Moreover, repotting should be done at the end of winter when the year’s growing season is complete.

When you go to repot, place the tuber into a slightly bigger pot with slightly acidic soil that’s fresh and continue watering. Soon after, leaves will sprout from the tuber, and the plant will grow continuously until it flowers once again. Keep in mind that flowering can happen at any time of the year.

Flowering

Purple and White Flowers Blooming Outdoors
These beautiful flowers come in during the summer months.

These plants are susceptible to the surrounding environment. This plant is delicate and doesn’t deal with stress very well whatsoever.

For example, any obstacle that impedes their top growth or root growth will decrease the size of the plant and the number of flowers that it will have.

One gloxinia plant is capable of producing more than two dozen flowers. If you find that the first two emerging flowers are pinched off in the early stages of development, most of the flowers will develop together, making for a beautiful display.

After the flowering process is finished, the plant will fall into a dormant state of rest. As this happens, begin watering the plant to a lesser degree. Next, stop watering the plant altogether and allow the leaves to die.

Finally, let the tuberous stem rest for two to four months in dry soil. Watch the plant closely and once you see new growth, continue watering the plant.

Common Pests and Diseases

Red Flowers by a Window
These delicate flowers are susceptible to a number of growing obstacles, pests, and diseases.

The gloxinia is very fragile and sensitive to water on its leaves and a lack of airflow. These two factors can cause it to rot. Furthermore, do not leave a gloxinia in any sitting water for any considerable amount of time; doing so will cause tuber rot. However, there’s a delicate balance to strike because a plant that is too dry will roll up its leaves.

This plant is vulnerable to whiteflies, scale, mealybugs, and aphids. Make sure to remove any infected plants from other houseplants and dispose of them. Refrain from using insecticides and sprays as they are likely to ruin the delicate blooms.

The Sinningia Speciosa is a bit more involved than a typical plant because it’s sensitive to changes in temperature and quantities of water. As a result, many different problems can develop. If you have them in your garden, it can be helpful to keep certain species of birds around.

Growing Problems

Close Up of Pink Flower
If special care is not taken, problems can occur in your gloxinias.

There are an array of issues that this plant may suffer from. Here are the main issues owners of gloxinia may notice as well as what is causing them.

Buds turned black and died: This can happen as a lack of micronutrients and too few daylight hours.

The tuber hasn’t formed: This occurs when attempting to plant very long stem cuttings. Another reason could be that the cuttings were planted deeply and watered in excess.

Lead redness: There’s a phosphorus deficiency present.

Leaf discoloration: There’s not enough magnesium.

Yellow leaves: Excessive water or a lack of nitrogen can cause this discoloration.

Leaf curl: The humidity may be insufficient.

Twisting flowers: This slows down the plant’s growth, and it happens when the temperature is below 15 degrees.

Spotting: Brown and yellow spots may develop due to drafts, bright lighting, or cold irrigation water.

Torsion of leaf edges: The torsion bending of leaf edges results from excessive moisture within the soil.

The plant refuses to bloom: This can happen due to dry or cold air, not enough nutrition, insufficient lighting, poor maintenance during the dormant stage, and too many nitrogenous fertilizers.

Rotting petioles and buds: This happens because of excess nitrogen fertilizers, excess acidity in the soil, and excess moistening of the soil.

Gloxinia Diseases

Pink and White Speckled Flowers
Gloxinias can contract a number of diseases and potentially die.

Below are some possible diseases you may run into with your Gloxinia:

Late Blight

This disease develops very quickly and leads to the rapid and sudden death of the gloxinia plant. Slight wilting is the sign of the beginner stages. Next are color changes, and the growth of the stem ceases.

Even after watering the plant, the leaves continue to fade away further, and the base of the stem starts rotting. This rotting passes on to the stalks and the leaves. Do not attempt to keep such a plant. The plant has to be disposed of, even the land.

Tuber Rotation

This disease happens when the plant is watered to excess. In the early stage of the disease rears its head in the form of a decrease in leaf turgor, and after irrigation, the turgor will not return. After severe tuber damage, the plant will wilt completely.

Wilt Virus

If your plant begins to develop brown rings, it may be infected with the spotted wilt virus.

This virus is transmitted via the western flower thrips and is unfortunately incurable. This means that you will have to dispose of your infected gloxinia straightaway. Keeping an infected gloxinia can result in it being attacked by whiteflies and mites, which may be even tougher to control.

Phytophthora Crown Rot

The roots of the Gloxinias are susceptible to diseases such as Phytophthora Crown Rot. The pathogens of the illness infect the root crown of your plant and will then spread to the leaf blade.

Water-soaked dark brown roots are an alarming sign of the disease. Furthermore, the reddening and purpling of older leaves are all signs you should look out for. Sadly, even young plants will die quickly from this disease.

To deal with this disorder, you must destroy all of the plants as soon as possible to prevent the spreading of the disease. Never propagate using infected plants; however, you can use them as compost.

Fusarium

This occurs when the soil has contaminated the plant. The leaves will curl, fade and turn brown. You’ll find dark cracks and stripes forming on the stem. Irrigating the plants too much, along with excess moisture, facilitates the growth of fusarium plants.

Boron Deficiency

Boron is pivotal in many plant functions, such as reproductive growth. The most prevalent symptom of boron deficiency is the sudden appearance of dark spots at the leaf base of the plant.

The spots are black or dark brown. As time passes,  spots can begin to spread up to the flower stalks and leaf blades of your gloxinias. At worst, your gloxinia can wilt and die because of boron deficiency.

To treat boron deficiency, simply supply your plant with boron. Do this by putting boron in the soil directly, through fertigation or a foliar spray. Moreover, you can mix boron with other fertilizers and put it into the ground before planting.

Are Gloxinia Plants Toxic?

French Bulldog Smelling Red Gloxinias
Gloxinias are non-toxic, so they are OK to have around furry friends.

Before beginning or expanding your indoor garden, it’s a good idea to know the toxicity level of all of your houseplants. Unwittingly taking care of a toxic plant can be dangerous for you, your children, and your pets.

Thankfully, Gloxinias are non-poisonous. You will have the luxury of placing them anywhere that you like without fear of compromising anything or anyone’s health.

Top Tips

Pretty Purple Flower Blooming From a Potted Plant
These beauties need time and patience from you to excel in your garden or home.
  • This plant is moderately difficult to care for.
  • Make sure the soil remains evenly moist during flowering.
  • Use the bottom method of irrigating along with lukewarm water.
  • This will help stave off to stave off root rot and reduce watering frequency.
  • Bright and indirect light works best.
  • Fitting in sunlight during the winter for about an hour is great.
  • Avoid all shaded spots.
  • Transplant the plant every three years during the spring.
  • Use a houseplant potting mix and a larger pot.
  • The average room humidity is doable for Sinningia.
  • Supplement the plant every fortnight using potassium-based feed during bloom.
  • Revert to house plant fertilizers each month
  • Sadly, because their lifespan is limited, this plant will likely die after it’s last flowering.

Final Thoughts

Although the Gloxinia can be a bit temperamental as far as plants go, it is truly a beautiful plant that offers a new dimension of beauty to your indoor garden.

Just keep in mind that this plant requires more attention than a typical plant being sensitive to airflow and even excess water. By following these tips, you will be on your way to planting, growing, and caring for your very own Gloxinia Sinningia Speciosa!

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