The term Glossinia indicates a small tuberous plant, native to South America, the Gloxinia perennis; in reality the glossins that we find for sale by the florist are hybrids, which hardly resemble the mother plant, a close relative of the Saint Paulia saddle. It produces a short stubby, stocky and fleshy, herbaceous, which bears very large oval or roundish leaves, slightly fleshy, with clearly evident veins and sometimes covered by a thin light hair.
Starting from late spring until late summer, large white buds develop from the center of the leaves, which bloom in huge colored bellflowers, usually red, purple, pink or lilac, with the inside of velvety petals. The flowers of glossinia are particular and very decorative, and the plant is cultivated only for flowering; in fact after the summer the plant perishes and dries up completely, to enter a period of vegetative rest; the big round tuber will start to sprout again in the warm season. In reality it is very simple to force the glossinia tubers into the greenhouse, to make them flower almost at any time of the year; we can therefore find on the market glossins in full bloom even during the winter; we remember that the following year we will have to get back to the plant the right seasonal cycle if we want to see it still bloom.
How to grow it
Generally, glossinias are bought in full bloom, it is difficult to buy tubers; the plant in full bloom should be kept in a very bright place, but not directly exposed to sunlight, especially during the hottest hours of the day; we could also place it on the terrace, or at home, the important thing is that it receives a lot of light, so as to favor the continuous development of new buds.
The soil must be kept constantly humid, not soaked with water; It is sufficient to water when we feel with the fingers that the soil is starting to dry: in summer also every 2-3 days, in spring about once a week. We avoid excessively soaking the earth, so as not to favor the development of harmful tuber rots. We also avoid leaving the plant completely dry for a long time; if the soil dries up, the glossinia withers, in watering the ground the plant recovers, but it cannot stand more than a couple of such events in a season.
Every week we add water to the watering fertilizer for flowering plants.
The leaves and the flowers are very afraid of being close to the water, if they are wet they are ruined quickly and irreparably; when we water we remember to wet only the soil and not the plant; since the foliage generally covers the vase completely, let us arm ourselves with a watering can equipped with a spout, so as to be able to direct the water jet well.
In autumn the plant perishes and dries up; at this point let the soil dry completely and then place the pot, or even just the tuber, in a dark, dry and cool place, with temperatures above 10 ° C. In spring we can reposition the tuber in a pot, in a good fresh and well-drained soil, with the upper part just at ground level; as soon as we see the first small shoots we will start watering again and keeping the plant in a luminous place. Generally the glossinia plants bloom again for two-three years and then they begin to produce ever smaller flowers; if we want to keep the flower of our specimen we can propagate the plant through leaf cuttings. This cutting is done in summer, or in late spring; we take a beautiful healthy leaf, we make small incisions along the central veins and position the leaf on a good soil mixed with sand, stopping it with metal jumpers. We keep the container in a not excessively sunny but bright place, and water periodically, so as to avoid leaving the mixture completely dry. From the cuts on the veins small plants will sprout, which within a few weeks can be removed from the leaf and repotted individually.
Glossinia - Gloxinia: Gloxinia or Sinningia?
The genus Gloxinia once numbered about twenty species, which over time have been very small; now it counts only a few species, among which the Gloxinia perennis is the most widespread; some species produce small tubular flowers at the apex of the stems. The genus Sinningia is often confused with that of Gloxinia, due to the similarity of the flowers and the plant habit, however, it is a question of two separate genera, related to the fact that they are widespread in South America, and belonging to the family of the jeseria.