Gloxinia: the best care tips

Gloxinia: the best care tips


Gloxinia from the trade are cultivated forms of the species Sinningia speciosa and other representatives within the genus Sinningia. Common species that are used for breeding purposes are Sinningia villosa or Sinningia helleri. The genus contains between 60 and 80 species and belongs to the Gesneria family. The species come from tropical climates in South and Central America. Sinningia speciosa grows in the rainforests of Brazil.

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  • Hibernate gloxinia properly in the garden or in a tub
  • Is the gloxinia poisonous?
  • Hibernate climbing gloxinia frost-free

Originally Sinningia speciosa was assigned to the genus Gloxinia. In the meantime, the relationships have changed, but the German common name has not changed.

Attention, risk of confusion:

  • Garden gloxinias belong to the genus Incarvillea
  • Species belong to the trumpet tree family
  • grow at high altitudes in Central and East Asia


Gloxinia of the genus Sinningia grow as herbaceous plants, the shoots of which arise from an underground tuber. This rhizome is used for survival. As slow-growing plants, gloxinias reach heights between 15 and 30 centimeters. They develop a bushy compact shape and grow between 30 and 60 centimeters wide. Gloxinias are perennial.


Sinningia hybrids develop ovate to elongated leaves that turn green and are covered with velvety hairs. Your leaf margin is notched. Each leaf vein ends in a tooth at the edge. The deciduous plants have simply structured and stalked leaves that can be up to six centimeters long. While the underside of the leaf blade appears light, the upper side is slightly darker in color. Sinningia speciosa has opposite leaves on the stem. Many cultivated forms develop a basic leaf rosette.

The newer hybrids have grown out leaves that are very soft and small. The first cultivated forms had large and coarse leaves that were easily destroyed during transport.


The flower stalks grow above the leaves. Sinningia varieties have strikingly large flowers, the petals of which are shaped like a funnel. The crown grows between two and six inches long. It is surrounded by a five-lobed calyx, the leaves of which are fused together like a bell. The individual segments are triangular to lanceolate in shape. In some cultivated forms, the flowers are double, so that they are reminiscent of the shape of old roses.

Sinningia species develop their flowers between June and August. The color palette is very rich. While Sinningia speciose develops salmon-red flowers, the cultivars shine in white, red or blue-violet. There are varieties whose petals appear multicolored. Their flowers can be bordered white, speckled white and pink or curled. Some gloxinias develop tubular flowers, while some varieties are reminiscent of Usambara violets. There are now varieties that look more original and are more reminiscent of the wild species Sinningia speciosa. They have smaller flowers that hang down slightly.


Sinningia hybrids serve as a flower and fruit ornamental plant. They decorate interiors and are used for colorful arrangements of potted plants. Because gloxinias can be grown from seeds all year round, they are popular plants for the conservatory. Due to its location requirements, this plant is perfect for decorating showcases. Garden gloxinias are more robust than their tub-planted namesakes. They can be grown outdoors. Here the plants provide color accents in the semi-shady rock garden.

Is gloxinia poisonous?

Gloxinia do not contain any toxic agents and can therefore safely decorate rooms in which pets live. There is also no risk of poisoning in humans after accidentally consuming the flowers or leaves.

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Which location is suitable?

Sinningia varieties prefer a warm and bright location, where there is high humidity. Make sure that the place is not in direct sunlight. Gloxinia like a partially shaded location in heated rooms or warm houses. They do not tolerate drafts and are sensitive to temperature fluctuations.

How to plant garden gloxinias in the bed:

  • at a distance of 20 to 30 centimeters
  • to a depth of five centimeters
  • with 13 plants on one square meter

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What soil does the plant need?

Commercially available potting soil is suitable as a substrate for Sinningia hybrids. Mix these with sand to increase the permeability. Alternatively, you can use cactus soil, which already has well-drained properties. The substrate should be moderately moist, without waterlogging. The delicate tuber rotates easily if the soil is too wet. This weakens the plant and mold spores can settle.

Garden gloxinias grow in neutral to slightly acidic soil with a pH between five and seven. There are some varieties that are suitable for calcareous substrates.

Propagate gloxinia

Gloxinias can be propagated with a lot of patience and the right care. Both sowing and growing leaf cuttings is possible. The blooming beauties can also be increased by division. To do this, the plants and their tubers are dug up and the substrate removed.

Larger tubers are cut up with a sharp knife. Let the pieces air dry and place them in a sandy substrate. Keep the soil moderately moist. At temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius, the rhizome pieces soon form fresh roots.

Good to know:

  • Divide potted plants in spring
  • Divide garden gloxinia before wintering in autumn
  • Dust the interfaces with carbon powder

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The seeds of the gloxinia can be sown between October and February. The tiny seeds are scattered on cultivation or cactus soil. Lightly press the seed, making sure that it is not covered by the substrate. Sinningia gloxinias are light germs. The substrate is slightly moistened. A spray bottle is recommended to prevent the earth from being washed away. Cover the planter with a transparent film or a glass hood. Place the pot in a light location with temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius. Make sure you have regular ventilation to keep the plants from going moldy.

As soon as the seedlings show the first leaves, the young plants can be pricked out and placed in a larger container. The plants can be further cultivated at 15 degrees Celsius. It takes up to three years for the plants to bloom for the first time.


During the growing season, cut leaves from a healthy mother plant and place them in a planter that has been filled with nutrient-poor potting soil. Moisten the substrate and put a glass over the leaf cutting so that the humidity remains constant and the substrate does not dry out as quickly.

Put the pot in a warm and light place. Temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius are ideal. Ventilate the jar twice a day and rinse it with warm water. This measure prevents the formation of mold. It takes up to six months for the cuttings to develop roots and new leaves to emerge.


This measure is possible for the bulbs of the garden gloxinia that are available in the market. They can be planted directly in a bed from the end of May or brought forward from March. Preferred specimens begin to germinate and bloom earlier.

Use a sufficiently large bucket with a diameter between 20 and 30 centimeters. This is filled with potting soil or normal garden soil. The tubers are stuck vertically into the substrate and loosely covered. Put the pot in a warm place where the thermometer is between 18 and 22 degrees. Keep the soil moderately moist.

The pre-grown plants can be planted outside from mid-May. Loosen the soil well and mix some sand under the soil to increase its permeability. You can spread some compost to help it grow. Put the root heart at least two inches deep into the ground, being careful not to damage the roots.

Gloxinia in the pot

Gloxinia of the genus Sinningia are grown exclusively as potted plants. In the pot, the plants beautify interiors and winter gardens. Make sure that the pot has a drain hole. Optimal water drainage is important so that no mold forms. Cover the bottom of the pot with expanded clay, (€ 17.50 at Amazon *) pebbles or potsherds. The material ensures that the substrate does not trickle out of the hole. Excess irrigation water can flow off optimally. A clay pot also regulates the water balance, because the moisture can pull out through the porous material.


If the conditions are right, Sinningia varieties can easily be grown on the balcony. They thrive optimally in a partially shaded location on a south-facing house wall. The flowers develop best here when there is no draft. Protect the plant from rain, as the leaves quickly look ugly.

Pour gloxinia

Sinningia varieties have moderate water requirements. Container plants are watered regularly. Let the soil dry between the watering units. Garden gloxinias enjoy watering in longer dry periods. A layer of mulch improves the water balance in the soil. It ensures that the substrate dries out more slowly. Pour the water directly onto the root ball to keep the leaves from getting wet.

Properly cut gloxinia

A regular section of dead stems stimulates the formation of more flowers. In this way, both indoor plants and outdoor perennials develop into permanent bloomers. When leaves have wilted, they can be removed regularly. Cut the stems close to the ground.

In autumn the plants withdraw. They store their energy in the rhizomes so that the above-ground shoots and leaves wither. As soon as the plant parts are completely dead, you can cut them back to within five centimeters above the ground.

Fertilize gloxinia properly

The perennials in the bed cover their nutritional needs all year round with the help of compost in spring. If you cannot give the plants compost, a long-term fertilizer such as horn shavings (€ 6.39 at Amazon *) or blue grain is suitable. Container plants should be fertilized at intervals of two to three weeks. Give the plants a liquid fertilizer that is mixed with the irrigation water. There is no fertilization if the plants have been freshly repotted.

How do I transplant properly?

Garden gloxinias can be transplanted in spring. With this measure, it is advisable to divide the tubers in order to increase the beauty of the garden. Container plants can also be transplanted after wintering before the tubers sprout again.


While the garden gloxinias are hardy, indoor gloxinias have problems with cool temperatures. Their wintering differs in terms of care.

Garden gloxinias

They tolerate temperatures down to -20 degrees Celsius. While the tubers have no problems with the frosty temperatures, they can be damaged by moisture in the substrate. It therefore makes sense to dig up the tubers from the bed and put them in a box lined with straw. The tubers are overwintered in a cool and dry place and brought forward again in spring. This overwintering is also possible for tubers of the Sinningia varieties.

Plant pots with bulbs of the garden gloxinia overwinter in a frost-free location on an insulating base. Protect the bucket with a burlap sack, foil or garden fleece so that the substrate does not completely freeze. The substrate is watered on frost-free days.

Room gloxinias

Sinningia varieties can be cultivated further over the winter. Overwintering without a resting phase requires extensive maintenance. Place the plant in an unheated room with temperatures between ten and 15 degrees Celsius.

The perennials need a lot of light. Their ability to grow will be improved if they are exposed to artificial light for several hours a day. The plants do not need any fertilizer. Your water requirement is minimal during this time. The tubers must not dry out as they will not survive this.

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Gloxinias that are cultivated as house plants suffer from infestation by aphids, thrips or spider mites if the conditions are too dry. They feed on the sap, causing the leaves to curl up and die.

Snails are dreaded pests that attack young plants of garden gloxinias in spring. They eat fresh shoots and leaves of the outdoor shrubs. Regularly loosen the soil around the plant. As a result, the substrate dries out on the surface, so that the snails do not easily reach the plants.

Fungal attack

Waterlogging is a typical maintenance mistake that leads to rotten roots. Fungal spores find optimal growth conditions. They settle on the putrid spots and develop a fungal mycelium that penetrates the plant organism. It is also weakened by the fungal attack. The leaves turn yellow and slowly die off.


Since the velvety hairy leaves of all gloxinias cannot tolerate water, you should increase the humidity in other ways. Place the planter in a plant pot filled with pebbles and fill it with a little water. The moisture slowly evaporates and ensures an optimal moisture content in the air.


  • Scarlet : Sinningia hybrid with intense red flowers.
  • Kaiser Friedrich : Sinningia variety with red petals, edged in white.
  • Tigrina : Sinningia cultivated form with speckled flowers.
  • Alba : Incarvillea variety with white petals.
  • Deli Rose : Incarvillea variety with magenta flowers.