Thanks to some great DG friends I have started getting into Gesneriads. My first AV to bloom is the one pictured .. It was a NOID but after looking at pictures I'm thinking it might be Epsom Magic. Please correct me if I'm wrong .. I passed my personal test which was to keep my new plants alive and thriving for more than 6 months so I'm ready to jump in with both feet! I even weathered a fungus gnat infestation with no problems .. turned out to be that awful Miracle Grow AV soil. I ended up removing all the MG soil and replacing it with a mixture of ProMix - BX and vermiculite and perlite. I have them in a south facing window behind some white mini blinds and they are doing awesome!!! They seem to love the really bright but indirect/filtered light. I've also successfully started a new plant from a leaf! So proud of myself!
I have a lot to learn though and eventually want to get into the Sinningia's. I've been reading all the threads paying particular attention to the ones about problems and really am loving the pictures of all the different cultivars! I had no idea!
Welcome aboard. A word of caution, however. If you are the collector type, AVs can become an obsessiion or worse. I've met growers who have literally hundreds of AVs and desperately seek out those that have escaped their collection.
My advice, restraint and diversity. Your idea of Sinningias is a good one. You might also try Streps and perhaps Episcias.
I congratulate you on your working out of the potting soil problem, and you analysis of light conditions. You are on your way to being a grower!
Thanks for the welcome! I can certainly understand how Gesneriads can become an addiction! I already have a bunch of those - they are in the greenhouse at the moment .. I wanted to have something with blooms that would carry me through the winter in the house and Gesneriads seemed to be the perfect solution .. the more I started looking into the Gesneriad Family the more intrigued I became and discovered my Alsobia was in the Gesneriad Family! I read bunches of books from the library about AV's and they all seemed to say the brightest indirect light was the best so rather put them my new babies in a North facing window I decided to try the South facing with the blinds on it and wasn't disappointed with the results!
I'll wait a few months before I start trading for more or trying new genus's.
Some Violets and a Kohleria cutting was how I got started a few years back.
The family of Gesneriaceae is very diverse. From tiny, tuberous herbs like Sinningia pusilla to small trees like Negria rhabdothamnoides.
There's a plethora of species, cultivars and hybrids to choose from, particularly in the genera Saintpaulia, Streptocarpus, Sinningia, Kohleria, Achimenes and Primulina (formerly known as Chirita).
Sinningias are probably the easiest of them all and come in a sheer endless variety of shapes, colors and sizes. They are generally easy to grow and bloom, are tolerant of neglect, are easy to propagate by means of cuttings, leaves and seeds.
If you ever want to try growing a Gesneriad from seed, try a mini Sinningia and you will most likely not be disappointed.
Kohlerias and Achimenes can be a bit trickier but are also generally easy. Like most other rhizomatous Gesneriads, they hate drying out when they're in active growth.
It's very easy to get carried away once you got the bug, so be a little careful. I speak from own experience - from about a dozen to over two hundred different Gessies in only a few months... LOL
What I would highly recommend to you is to look at the Gesneriad Society website for the next AV/Gesneriad club near you. Also, a Gesneriad Society membership is something to think about. It's 25 bucks a year and you get access to their seed fund, which is very cool!
Thanks for the info and link! My biggest problem right now is when to water .. at the moment I'm going by how light the pot they are in - I don't really see any over signs that they need watering like other plants but I'm getting the hang of it I think.
I'm wondering if the toothpick in the soil trick would work with AV's .. as I understand it, you just stick a wooden toothpick in the soil next to the roots and you can lift it out .. if it's totally dry, water. Do you think that would be a good indicator?
As much as I love Morning Glorys, where I live right now, there's not enough sun for them. They are a common weed around here (I. purpurea) but there are NONE where I live. Go figure... LOL
I always have too many Gessie seeds in the fridge from my own plants (Mostly Sinningias but there is the occasional Streptocarpus seed pod...)
I don't know about Violets from seed but I would suspect that most of the hybrids won't come true - just like it is the case with most other plants. However, being such highly variable plants, there's a chance that you wind up with some real nice ones if you have the patience. Violet seed pods take several months to mature and growing out the seedlings takes another year or so to first bloom. Then you want to start selecting the promising ones and keep growing them through several cycles of bloom to make sure that the blooms are stable.
Sinningias are a bit quicker in that regard. Particularly Sinningia speciosa, micros and minis grow from seed to first bloom in only a few months and they can have several growth cycles (2-3) per year without ever going completely dormant.
Kohlerias grow from seed to first bloom in about 4-6 months. Most never go fully dormant for me and keep putting out new growth pretty much all year round.
In general, Gesneriads are not more difficult to grow from seed than any other plant. The one thing that can take some getting used to is the diminutive size of the seeds and seedlings. The seedlings might be tiny but they are also surprisingly tough!
Hi X, welcome to you! A tip on sowing the exceedingly fine seed Break each lot of seed you sow into quarters on separate little creased papers. Sow the contents of fist quarter evenly as you can in one direction. Rotate the container and sow the second quarter again as evenly as possible. I have done this hundreds and hundreds of times and know this really is helpful with truly tiny seed and fern spore. I have grown seed for decades to supplement my income. another great help id the realization that you probably do not have time or recourse to raise thousand and thousands of seedlings to a salable or growing on size. I do believe you will enjoy the hobby and have MUCH more happiness if you sow about a quarter of a pod or packet,perhaps keep another quarter in storage. and let the other half fall were they may! Lots and lots of joy to you! Did you ask if seeds come true? yes if there is nothing else in bloom closely related in flower! My friend, You are gonna have a ball! Lee Sherwood McDonald
Thanks for the info Lee. I usually start my first wave of seeds for the new growing season starting in the last week of January .. I start them on heating pads and move them out to the greenhouse after weaning the seedlings off the heat. One thing I've always done is keep detailed records about what I germinate and cross as well as photographs. I've had a lot of experience with crossing and back crossing morning glory for desired traits. It will be interesting to see what variations occur with cotyledons and sepals with the difference species.
I'll be going through my catalog for the next few weeks deciding what I want to grow this year .. I also always grow out my oldest seeds every year for fresh. Growing Gesneriads from seed will have to wait until I get toward the ends of my germination waves.
Anne, Pay no attention to me, You are an experienced soul!! I can't imagine why I thought you needed advice? I believe it had mostly to do with the number of gardeners who are flabbergasted by the size of seed for many Gesneriads?? If you have a moment I would love your opinion on good early blooming M.G.'s They tend to be very late bloomers for me up here in Siberia, N.Y. ! Lee Sherwood McDonald
I'm a tricolor variegated/episcia/strep person, less of the AV's. Developing a sinningia habit as well! Gesneriads are sooooo addictive! They're mostly small, so you can always squeeze one more in, right??
Yeah .. that's what I said about my tropical hibiscus .. my greenhouse is so stuffed with tropical and extra tropical plants at the moment I can hardly move in there!
My biggest space problem is plant munching kitties, God bless em, so I have somewhat of a limited space .. once I get the hang of it, I'll probably just concentrate on Sinningias and true doubled AV .. I'm a sucker for doubled flowers.
You need to throw in a few Episcia plants on that list. You can grow them in a hanging basket if need be for extra room. There are a couple more members over here that love tropicals like I do and are trying to build up on those so you are a perfect match over here :::)))))))))
And I have a few cool species like B. aridicaulis or B. burkillii that require a terrarium but are otherwise very easy. Also B. soli-mutata and U002, 'Dewdrop', 'Eagleshamm', sizemoreae and a ton more...
Good to know. I gotta put down some leaves anyway.
Do you all know just how terrible you are? LOL!! I just can't stand another addition, but it looks like it's just a tad too late for me. I went and bit the dust and ordered some sinningia seeds. So maybe by the spring I'll have something other than av's to go in the round robin.
Oh and by the way...I got another shelf today. lol!!
I had brought up the idea of a spring RR on another thread and I think Olaf is referring to that. I am becoming addicted to Hoyas now and have started collecting a few of those. Most members here like other plants besides gessies.
I will when it comes closer to spring. I will be too cold also. It probably needs to be posted in April and started in May...or something on that order. Some might get too busy and you never know what may come up if it is posted too soon. Example: I had a short notice to leave the state to help my daughter after her surgery. Ya never know what might come up between now and spring.
If we're doing it in the spring, I'll put down some leaves. I have some cool streps, like Geronimo and Nightmare that are already sprouting leaves. AV Laser Celebration blooms practically nonstop for me, I'll start that as well. I also have some of the variegated Buckeye AV's, I'll throw those leaves in some perlite as well. I have begonias as well, if anyone wants me to start those.
I'll have some micro mini, mini and regular size Sinningias, Kohlerias, Begonias, Hoyas, Silver Squill (Ledebouria socialis), Cissus quadrangularis, Sansevieria trifasciata 'Black Gold', Aloe aristata, Haworthia coarctata, Ceropegia woodii, C. woodii "Green" and C. linealis and whatever else I can find...
I did have a feeling I had to start some cuttings but only now I realized why lol. You guys are super terrible, I'm drooling already! Love the idea about hoyas, begonias, maybe some succulents and even supplies and crafts would be nice too. Definitely something fun to work on all winter long.
You guys are ramping up my acquisition virus! Are there any Gesneriads that will tolerate blazing hot sun and a lot of water? I have a Giant Tai EE, Colocasia gigantea that's in a large pot and wants a ground cover. It's still a baby though.
In my growing area the temperatures go up into the triple digits for several weeks a year and drop into the nineties during the night.
Sinningias and Kohlerias do best for me. Achimenes are worth giving a try. You should keep them out of direct midday sun or they will scorch up in no time. They can take a bit of direct morning or afternoon sun but you need to test each one for sun tolerance and you also need to slowly get them used to the sun when you move them outdoors.
Kohlerias and Achimenes can probably take the most water but I seriously doubt that they can tolerate the almost bog conditions that Colocasias like...
However, you can use the EE-leaves as a natural shade cloth and grow all kinds of Gesneriads in pots under their protective canopy. :)
For the swampy tropicals, I use Viola banksii, gotu kola, pennyroyal, or water celery. I have a lot of shady kinda plants, so the episcias do well as carpeting plants. I use tropical sedums for the sun-lovers.
Other good ones for shady conditions are waffle plants (Hemigraphis) or Pellionia (or whatever their current name may be..., aka. "Water Melon Begonia"). Both make nice ground covers. Tradescantias can work but you will have to have a weed whacker at hand at all times because they can get a tad invasive. Also, they are classified as noxious weeds in some areas...
All kinds of Begonias work for shady areas and with larger growing rhizomatous
ones like 'Red Fred' or 'Lotusland', you can make quite a statement!
Vigorous, fast growers like B. soli-mutata or U002 are also very cool. B. soli-mutata turns brown in the sun and green in the shade...
Then you have terrestrial Orchids like Spathiglottis which should be pretty much trouble free.
Enough O/T... LOL Back to Gesneriads: The tougher Sinningias like S. tubiflora and S. macrostachya should work even in a relatively sunny spot. The close Sinningia relatives Paliavana and Vanhouttea could work and so could the intergeneric xSinvana.
Primulina tabacum could work in a cool, shady spot and so could some of the former Chirita.
If you can get your hands on one, you could try Conandron ramondioides.
Some of the vigorous, larger Nautilocalyx like N. melittifolius are worth a try as well. Basically all the close Episcia relatives have something worth giving a shot: Alsobia, Nautilocalyx, Alloplectus, etc.
Maybe a Gesneria like G. cuneifolia but they might just be a little too tender...
Columnea, Aeschynanthus, Codonanthe, Nematanthus, xCodonatanthus - The epiphytic genera have quite a few VERY tough ones to offer as well.
Hey...I like the weedy spiderworty kinda plants. And I use them for pot cover, too :) And in bouquets.
Alsobias are fantastic, they cascade prettily over the edge of the pot, and they're good for carpeting terrariums, too. I have a Nautilocalyx adenosiphon that is growing nicely, I may take some cuttings and see how it does in the soil of a ginger. I just started some Episcia "My Precious" accidental cuttings (cat did some unapproved pruning) and I'm trying them as soil cover for a Ctenanthe lubbersiana. I am not sure how a trailing AV would work for that, most of the ones I've tried seem a little fussy for the rough and tumble lifestyle of a soil cover plant.
Am I the only person who has an odd aversion to seeing the soil in pots or terrariums? lol I can't decide whether I like the aesthetic, or it's just an excuse for another plant.
They don't like to be fussed with. Just leave them alone and only water when they droop. The second, you put them on a regular water regimen, they croak. Once established, they are tough as nails but they can take a while to get there.
All this talk of a spring round robin is making me drool. I am game for any type of plants. I'm new to all gessies. I have african violet babies that will be ready, and also have a lot of micro-mini sinningia seeds that have sprouted. I think the name is 'Bright Eyes'. I have to go check the tag. Also by spring I should have lots of epicia to put in box. Maybe also some hoya cuttings. I just started with cane begonia so if they grow good, I'll have cuttings of those also. Hurry spring. I can't wait.
Olaf, you were supossed to send me some sinningia seeds, so when you do, I should have some of those babies as well.
So far, I am still waiting for two more pods to ripen, then it's cleaning, packaging and sending them off. I have a ton of S. muscicola and pusilla seeds.
BTW: Technically, your 'Bright Eyes', which is (pusilla x concinna) x pusilla, was selfed to obtain seeds and hence is 'Bright Eyes' x self or 'Bright Eyes' F2. It's important to make this distinction because your seedlings will likely not be uniform and not come true to 'Bright Eyes'. What is to be expected is that most of the offspring will be more like pusilla than concinna but there is potential room for some significant differences.
I have been very busy lately and working long hours. So, as soon as the pods are ripe and dry and I have some time to clean and bag the seeds, I'll be sending them to you! :)
I just went and checked the name and it's Bright Eyes x self. There are a couple in the container that look like they have a couple of sets of leaves, so tomorrow I'm going to pot a couple up and see how they do. And WOOHOO, Olaf, my sinningia gutata has buds. You were right. You said it would bloom by December. I can't wait. They are tall and almost touch the iights. I may have to take it off the grid and put it on a mat. Otherwise I won't be able to see the flowers. I see a few buds.
Don't stress yourself too much about sending seeds. I don't want to rush you. I appreciate that you are doing this for me. Try not to work so hard. Try to enjoy the holidays. I worked in retail until the store I worked in closed. I have worked every Black Friday, every Saturday and Sunday for years. I never had time to enjoy the Christmas holidays. I am now retired and enjoying doing nothing but playing with my plants.
Celene did you say Vanilla Orchid? I have one that's been sitting under my potting bench going on 3 years now .. it's over 6 feet long and mugging everything in site - I'm always having to remove it's little feet that grab onto everything from objects - thankfully it doesn't attach to other plants like the passiflora .. that's a daily job, cutting off tendrils .. could you post a picture of it, the pot you use and what you have it climbing on please?
Right now it's in a back bedroom, because I moved stuff around to decorate my ghost pepper kitchen "tree". Mine isn't as large as yours from the sound of it, it just wanders around the other pots and a metal stand.
I have some chirita nimbus plantlets doing well and probably various rhizomes to send too and well other goodies. I planted some Achimnes Glory so those should be ready to ship unless they are too big.