This species is native to Brazil, and has been given the name “BRAZILIAN EDELWEISS”, suggesting that it also grows AT HIGHER ELEVATIONS UNDER MORE OR LESS ALPINE CONDITIONS. It was once classified as Rechesteineria leucotricha, but in more recent years, this and several other genera have become consolidated into the genus Sinningia, which is characterized by tuberous rooted species.
SINNINGIA LEUCOTRICHA is a tuberous herbaceous perennials with silvery-white furry foliage and large, powerfully fragrant tubular red-orange flowers. Plants upright about 30 cm tall and 35 cm wide. Perennial, flattened spherical, apex sunken, 6-10 (or more) cm in diameter with light brown bark, fleshy but solid and partially exposed above ground. The TUBER IS STORAGE ORGAN THAT ALLOWS THE PLANT TO SURVIVE PERIODS OF DROUGHT, cold or other conditions inhospitable to growth.
Its ANNUAL STEMS are about 10 cm tall, completely deciduous, stumps remain on tuber. The STEM GROWTH HABIT is determinate , the branch stems ends with 2 or 3 leaf-pairs or flowers and is unable to grow further. While its LEAVES in whorls of 4(-6), ovate, up to 15 long and 10 cm wide, silvery-white densely covered bay silky hairs.
However, its FLOWERS are bright salmon red in clusters of 3-5 in leaf-axils or at the ends of stems, growth similar to Sinningia cardinalis but sometimes SEND UP A CENTRAL STALK with leaves and flowers in terminal cluster on top. Flowers nodding, short-lived. Calyx-lobes tapering from a triangular base. Corolla-tube narrowly tubular to cylindric, variously whitish hairy. Calyx 3 cm pink to orange to red, dark purple with brown-black lines at throat, lobes almost equal. Disc-glands 2.
BLOOMING SEASON OF SINNINGIA LEUCOTRICHA
SPRING TO EARLY SUMMER. Despite their tubers these plants, under ideal conditions, are capable of blooming off and on all through the year. TUBERS MAY FLOWER WITHOUT PLANTING.
The SINNINGIA LEUCOTRICHA likes a LIGHT SPOT and because of its reflective grey leaves, it can even tolerate some direct BRIGHT SUNLIGHT. The potting soil of this species should be KEPT MOIST DURING GROWTH AND CAN BE LEFT TO DRY OUT WHEN THE TUBER IS AT REST.
The plants can be propagated by DIVIDING THE OCCASIONAL ROOT OFFSET or BY SEED. Make sure that it is not difficult to grow, but like all gesneriads, the seed are tiny – practically dust-like threads, and may require some SPECIAL HANDLING. You SHOULD USE METER MIX, BUT ANY GOOD SEED STARTER POTTING MEDIUM WOULD PROBABLY WORK WELL. On top of this, put down a very thin layer of sifted sand (use the coarse sand left after sifting off the finer particles), or Turface All Sport. On top of this sew the seed, and use a mister with a mix of Captain solution to moisten the soil, and to prevent any fungal growth in the potting mix. Following this, the pot should be sealed in a plastic baggie to maintain moisture and high humidity. The seed trays should be maintained at RELATIVELY WARM TEMPERATURES (about 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit) and GIVEN BRIGHT FILTERED LIGHT about 10 to 14 hours daily. Many growers use banks of FLUORESCENT LIGHTS to PROVIDE ILLUMINATION for germinating seeds and raising seedlings, held SEVERAL INCHES ABOVE THE SEED FLATS, these not only provide ADEQUATE LIGHT, but also ADDITIONAL WARMTH. This germination is FAIRLY RAPID, but subsequent growth may proceed a BIT MORE SLOWLY. Many caudiciform and tuberous rooted plants will INVEST MOST of their initial growth to develop their roots or caudexes. When the seedlings HAVE GROWN LARGE ENOUGH to be SAFELY TRANSPLANTED, they SHOULD BE POTTED INDIVIDUALLY. Thereafter, it is a rather long process for the plants to grow their distinctive caudex.