Monday, January 4, 2010

Gloxinias



Top picture: New Leaves
Second picture: Full bloom and buds


Gloxinias are often found in garden centres and the supermarket fresh flowers and plants sections here. They are very beautiful with lovely luxurious bell flowers in striking rich reds, pinks and purples. A colourful addition to your balcony. Yet many people get frustrated that they seem to rot, lose their leaves and flowers and collapse very quickly; leaving nothing but an empty pot of dirt behind. If this is you, don't worry as gloxinias are amazingly resilient.
Firstly, don't throw that seemingly empty pot away. Gloxinias have a tuber root system and if you periodically water it, after about four weeks it will put out new leaves and new flowers again quite quickly. Once it puts out those little leaves, stop watering it from above. This also goes for those who want to preserve a fully flowering plant they haven't lost yet. Gloxinias don't like water on the leaves and flowers directly. This causes them to rot very quickly. Instead, every two to three days soak the pot in a bucket of water 3/4 of the way up the gloxinia pot for 15 minutes. How much water they need depends on the season. The hotter and drier it is, the more they need. I have two gloxinas that have re-flowered for me about five to six times in this way. After they have flowered, they die down again and then come back up a month or so later.
They are also great because they don't mind direct light and they are happy in shaded spots too. In fact, you can bring them into the house while they flower and put them back on the balcony during their somnolent periods.

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