Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa, or “Florist Gloxinia”) are easy to grow as house plants* despite their reputation for being difficult. We planted hundreds of gloxinia seeds in early November 2006 and have documented their growth in pictures to share with you here. The first of those seedlings opened its first blooms on March 21, 2007 — a gift on the first day of Spring.
Planting Gloxinia Seeds
The seeds were sown in shallow trays (with drainage holes) filled with a 50/50 mix of peat and perlite. Like African violet seeds, gloxinia seeds need light in order to germinate and therefore the seeds were sprinkled on top of moistened medium. Since we have plenty of humidity in our growing area we did not cover the trays. Every day the top of the medium was lightly spritzed with water to keep it moist. The first tiny leaves became visible seven days after planting.
At eight weeks our larger and faster-growing gloxinia plantlets were ready to be transplanted into their own pots. Since they were growing so quickly we chose 3-inch pots, slightly larger than the plants were ready for. We also potted them with wicks in anticipation of wicking them a little later on. We continued to top-water for another four weeks before moving them to wicking reservoirs.
Wicks were inserted and pots filled half-way with clay aggregate (which can be found at any hydroponics store under the brand names Hydroton®, LECA Rocks® and others). Each plantlet was groomed (the cotyledons were removed since they tend to rot when making contact with wet medium), centered in a pot, and covered over with a mix of perlite, peat and clay aggregate.
At fourteen weeks buds began to form at each node where leaf meets stem. Each plantlet set buds at its own pace regardless of relative size. Our first bloomer was the fastest to produce mature buds, but not the largest or most vigorous grower.
*According to our experience growing the Northeastern U.S. — your experience may vary depending upon location.