Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sinningia Ozark Waterfall

Sinningias are a group of house plants belonging to the Gesneriads  ( a plant grouping of African violets which also contains Florist Gloxinia, Achimenes, Chirita, and Episcia). All of these are loved houseplants, primarily because they are easily cared for and bloom in winter. Some bloom almost year round, but the blooms are especially welcome in winter.
I've had this particular mini Sinningia (Ozark Waterfall) for several years and find it to be a stunning addition to my table full of African violets (AV), Chiritias, and other Sinningias. I have the table situated near a north facing window, but also supplement  with florescent light for about 12 hours/day year round. Frankly, the florescent light is so far above the plants (standard height table lamp) that it is doubtful whether it benefits the plants that much. Even in the dark days of winter, the plants still turn toward the window indicating the relative brightness to the plants.
I pot many violets and relatives in AV pots , which is a pot within a pot. The pot the plant is in has a porous bottom section, and when the lower pot  has water or fertilizer solution, the plant receives water from below as is recommended for these plants. However, watering from the top also does fine. Just keep water off the leaves. Not letting the water stand in the catch pot is a good idea,too, as most plants do not do well when their roots are constantly wet. Rot may set in as water replaces all the air spaces in the soil and drowns the plants.I fertilizer with 1/4 strength solution each time I water, only occasionally flushing with pure water.
Many Sinningias hail from Brazil, and many are native to rocky places, which indicates that drainage is very important. If there is a question about whether to water or not, err on the side of dryness.
Ozark Waterfall grows from a tuber, and it often rests after a period of heavy blooming. Be patient and do not over water. The top growth may die back, or it may just remain in stasis till new growth sprouts from the tuber.
I recommend the miniature or micro-mini Sinningias as the regular size ones grow so tall they are often a problem to deal with as houseplants, rapidly outgrowing their space

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