This plant belongs to the same genus as gloxinia, but the two have little in common except that both grow from fibrous tubers and bear rather coarse, hairy leaves and brightly colored flowers.
The mid green leaves of sinningia have rather darker veins and are up to 6in/15cm long.
The scarlet flowers open in clusters at the tips of the stems in summer.
They are long and tubular, and the top of the corolla juts out over two distinct lower lips.
This gives the flowers the appearance of a helmet with an open visor, hence sinningia’s other name of helmet flower.
Cardinal Flower Fact File
HEIGHT To 10in/25cm.
POTTING MIX Peat-moss-based.
REPOTTING Set the dormant tubers level with the surface of the potting mix in spring. Move into a larger pot only after several years.
PROPAGATION Take cuttings of young shoots in late spring. A heated propagator will improve the success rate.
Also From Seeds: Sow In indoor before the last frost
OR Germinate in Vitro in agar or gelatin medium.
KEEPING PLANTS Sinningia has a short dormant period after flowering; keep the tuber dry and store the pot on its side.
Cardinal Flower Plant Care
- Bright light with no direct sun.
- Keep at about 70°F/21°C during the growing period; 50°F/10°C or less when the tubers are dormant.
- Water sparingly after potting until growth is evident, then keep the medium constantly moist until flowering has finished.
- Gradually reduce watering as the stems die back, and keep the tubers dry while dormant.
- Apply a high- potash liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks from the time flower buds form until the leaves die down.