Sinningia leucotricha

Synonyms:

Rechsteineria leucotricha

Habitat:

S. leucotricha is native to Southern Brazil where it grows in wetlands of rainforests.

Description:

S. leucotricha is a caudex-forming succulent, belonging to the Gesneriaceae botanical family. The plant has a short stem bearing some pairs of hairy leaves. Leaves are ovate, silver-green, filled with hairs. The caudex is thick, woody, subterranean and can reach 15 cm in diameter and in depth. The plant loses its foliage in late summer and recovers it after dormancy period in March. Blooming occurs in late spring and early summer and blossom are borne at the apex of the plant; flowers are thin, pale red to salmon.

Cultivation:

This is a slow growing succulent but quite easy to cultivate. For this succulent the best sun-exposure is light shade, and the plant does not like temperatures below 10 °C so it needs to be placed indoors during the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly from March to November: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 10 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow to the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a very fast and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specifics fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. The pot should be quite large and deep because the root is large and tuberose. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done usually every 3 years, early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. If the caudex will be covered the growth will be lush and fast, although if the caudex is exposed to sunlight the vegetation will reduce in size.

Propagation:

Propagation can be done by seed or by cutting of leaves or cutting of caudex. By seed is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with high level of humidity; temperatures of germination are between 20 and 28 °C. By cutting you can use leaf cuttings during the spring. Cut the leaves as close as possible to the stem and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase success of propagation you can cut two or more leaves at the same time. For cuttings is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. the procedure for tuber cuttings is the same.

Curiosity:

The name of the genus “Sinningia” comes from Wihelm Sinning, (1794-1874) chief gardener at the University of Bonn. The name Rechsteineria comes from the Swiss priest and botanist Rechsteiner who lived in the 19th century.

Official Web Site:
www.giromagi.com

Italian Blog:
www.giromagicactus.com

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