Friday, July 27, 2012

Not a Sinningia in Sight!

Story # 43,

 Not a Sinningia in sight.

      One of my missions each year at the OFA international horticultural trade show is to look for any Sinningias that are entering the market.  Once again------- there are none.  The exception is a line of Gloxinias shown as new varieties.

      But we call them Gloxinias not their botanical name of Sinningia speciosa.  I’m looking for compact or miniature Sinningias like I am producing.

      So what does this mean?

      There are none because nobody wants them or nobody has produced them to find out if anybody wants them.

      Horticulture thrives on the new and unusual, but Geraniums and Petunias pay the bills.  Commercial horticulture has been really slammed by the depressed economy.  Growers are very cautious about trying new stuff until the sales increase over the mess we are in.

      Sinningias are flowering houseplants.  The sales will be there once the supply is increased.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Will Sinningia 'Li'l Georgie' be in every Minature Garden?

Miniature Garden planter with cactus to be replaced with Sinningia
Story # 42,

                                                                               “Every Fairy Garden needs color!”
                                                                                        Nancy H.,  Jul 2012

      If you were designing a Miniature Garden from scratch you would look for a focal point, use miniature furniture and figurines and build varying heights and pathways for interest.  Miniature green plants could shape the landscape.  And when you are done you would say:  ‘We need color in here’

       The perfect plant would thrive as a houseplant, be continuous flowering and stay small to be proportional to the landscape.

      This miracle flowering plant will be hard to find.

      Nobody knows that Sinningia ‘Li’l Georgie’ is coming to take that spot.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sinningia 'Li'l Georgie' --- Sailing into the perfect storm!

Sinningia 'Li'l Georgie' grown by Jon Lindstrom

Story # 41,

Sinningia ‘Li’l Georgie’ ------ Sailing into the perfect storm!

      Is the miniature Sinningia ‘Li’l Georgie’ going to enter the market with all the logistics coming together?

      Logistics is the art of getting the right product, with the right price to the right place at the right time.  Good logistics is the coming together of the perfect storm but without everybody dying.

      The micro miniature Sinningia species were available in tiny production during the house plant boom of the 1970’s.  They pretty much disappeared except for dedicated hobbyists who work to successfully grow them.  Plants like S. pusilla and ‘White Sprite’ are grown from seed and do best when growing in high humidity areas like terrariums.

      The breakthrough with the hybrid, ‘Li’l Georgie’, (a cross of S. concinna and muscicola) is that it will grow and flower without a closed container ------ but in an open pot.

      This exceptional hybrid by Jim Steuerlein has no practical propagation method other than tissue culture.

      The tissue culture protocols are close to being worked out to produce this amazing little plant.  I have one that has flowered non-stop for two years.

      The market for small plants is booming with the revival of terrariums and now the sudden interest in Fairy Gardens and other Miniature Gardens.  Miniature foliage plants are being sorted out but no good mini flowering plant is available in quantity.

          With Sinningia 'Li'l Georgie', that is about to change!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sinningia 'Prudence Risley' - Always cheery

Sinningia 'Prudence Risley' with Blue Job's Tears in clay pot

Story # 40

     Sinningia 'Prudence Risley' always looks good in flower.  Here with Blue Job's Tears for contrast in a clay pot at Longwood Gardens' Plant Shop.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The double calyx research project!

Sinningia 'Party Dress' by Thad Scaggs showing double calyx flowers
Story # 39,

The double calyx research project!

      I am interested in researching all the information I can find about double calyx Sinningias.  This flower type is different in that the corolla has extra petals growing from the normal location of the calyx.

      I’ve only recently paid any attention to these novelty flowers and their commercial potential.  This will be an academic exercise since I don’t have any answers nor know how this will develop.

      Privately, as I have time, I will be contacting growers in the Sinningia world to ask what they know.

      Publicly, here on the blog, I am asking for help from readers who can contribute what they know about varieties, hybridizing history or current successful hybrids with double calyx flowers.  You may make your knowledge part of the blog comments so others can build on it.

      Or e-mail me directly with leads at

     I’ll do my best to sift through the data to record stories about the intriguing category of double calyx Sinningias.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Will Sinningia 'Magic Moment' make the cut?, Part II

Sinningia 'Magic Moment' - First flowers - Grown by Gary's Specialty Plants
Story # 18, Part II,

Will Sinningia ‘Magic Moment’ make the cut?

      This picture is the first flowering of Sinningia ‘Magic Moment’.  The rooted cutting from Ben Paternoster grew quickly and flowered on a short plant.

      So far, so good.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The second time around!

Sinningia 'Colorado Sunset' grown from tuber by Gary's Specialty Plants
Story # 38,

 The second time around!

      Sinningias form tubers as a survival mechanism to regrow after a dormancy.

      When one is grown from seed, tip cutting or tissue culture, it can grow and flower mostly from its roots before it forms much of a tuber.

      For commercial production the variety must be capable of a great show on first flowering or it will not be successful.

      What we know is that Sinningias that re-sprout from a tuber produce more spectacular flowering than previously

      Hobbyists often keep their favorite Sinningias from year to year and judge a variety by what it does the second or third year.  Very few people go to this trouble, in spite of the reward.

      Sinningias are better ----- the second time around!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Genetics are there!

New Verbena varieties
Story # 37,

 The genetics are there!

      The largest horticultural trade show for the greenhouse industry is in Columbus, Ohio every July and has all the newest plants.  The new varieties are anticipated and part of the excitement of this international trade show.  I’ve gone many times over the years and am looking forward to going next week.

      Every trade booth is there to impress you with their plant or product display.  The sales pitch must be concise and immediate as growers move around the trade floor.  A phrase that I’ve heard is: ‘The genetics are there’.  I never quite got what that means.

      So my evolved definition is that: ‘This variety will perform.  It has the potential to do what it’s supposed to do if grown properly’.  New varieties are generally improvements of some deficiency like flower color or size.

      Flower show competitions are a test of the genetics.  When an award of Best in Class is given, the plant has been judged to be the best showing of its potential. The winning specimens are selected because the judge’s comment will be: ‘This is the best showing of this plant's potential that I’ve ever seen’.

      Sinningias and Streptocarpus are genetically capable of being showy plants.  The game of hybridization is to make sure that --------- The genetics are there!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sinningia 'Kristobel' ---- First ever!

Sinningia 'Kristobel'  -- first flowers, July 2012
Story # 36,

      Sinningia ‘Kristobel’  ---- First ever availability!

      I have a group of Sinningia ‘Kristobel’ that are ready to sell.  These plants that I’ve watched with great anticipation are a glowing neon rose.

      It has been worth the wait.  I think that this Sinningia variety will find acceptance in the market.

      They will be available soon at Longwood Gardens.  Watch for them there.