Sinningia bullata

Sinningia bullataSinningia bullata is a fun and unique looking plant to have at home. It’s relatively easy to grow. The flowers are red/orange tubes, whose faces are dotted with darker red dots. What’s unique about this plant though is the white woolliness that covers the under-leaves, newly formed flower buds and flower stems. It’s interesting to look at and fun to touch. The bubbly green leaves make a nice contrast to the flowers, both color and texture wise. The colors are very bright and it’s difficult to take a picture that does this plant a justice.Sinningia bullata

Unlike some other tuberous sinningias, Sinningia bullata does not go through period of dormancy, and it flowers year round. How much flowers you get depends on how well your sinningia has grown and how big it is rather than the season. It does tend to grow a bit leggy and you should feel free to cut off the old growth as there is always new growth sprouting from the tuber.

In nature this plant is found on an island near southern Brazil called Florianopopolis. Sinningia bullata likes steep rocky cliffs, shade and moisture. This plant doesn’t seem to be bothered much by lower temperatures. You can still have it flowering in a cooler sunroom during the wintertime, but don’t let if freeze. Sinnigia bullata is a gesneriad, and there are quite a few other sinningias that are everblooming as well.Sinningia bullata

Requirements:

Watering needs:

I maintain the soil moist but never soggy, especially in the summer. Water less in the winter time, unless you are growing your plant in a warm location. It grows great with a hygrolon strip through the soil to maintain the moisture constant, and it seems to be fine with occasional drying out of the soil.

Light:
Sinningia bullataThis plant grows in part shade to shade. It seems to flower better when it has couple of hours of direct sunlight, making east and west windows ideal for it. It grows and flowers great on a north facing garden window, where it gets very bright indirect light all day long as well. Sinningia bullata tends to grow a bit leggy, so although you can easily grow it on a north window, I would not recommend it.

Humidity:
It can tolerate lower humidity levels, but the leaves will curl up at the ends, so higher humidity will be better for this plant. I do not spray the leaves because they are hairy and don’t want water to stain them. You can use a humidity tray.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Sinningia bullata needs well drained medium, so I use quite a bit of per-lite in my soil. Shredded tree fern fiber, and other epiphytic well draining medium would work as well. I use african violet soil with added peat moss and tons of per-lite for my plant and a bit of orchid potting medium, and is seems to work.  It’s very important not to bury the tuber under the soil! You should let it protrude on the surface to prevent it from rotting and to allow new shoots to sprout freely.

Propagation:

Young sinningia bullataBefore your Sinningia bullata reaches blooming size you can easily propagate it through cuttings. However, once you plant starts blooming that becomes very hard. I am currently trying to “re-set” growth by removing blooming stems. I hope after the plant start growing out new shoots I’ll be able to root some cuttings. Once your plant is blooming it will form seeds pots and you can propagate it through seeds as well, though it will take a long time for seedlings to reach blooming size.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: Sinningia bullata flower

It’s a fuzzy and cute plant  that really stands out among other plants. It’s has very bright green leaves and bright orange-red flowers that are a joy to look at. I highly recommend it! Sinningia bullata is a unique looking plant that stays relatively compact and once well established, never stops flowering! Cuttings from blooming sized plants seem to last forever in high humidity (they even continue flowering) but they stubbornly refuse to root. I love sinningias in general and there are many more everblooming ones that I would love to share with you :).

4 thoughts on “Sinningia bullata

  1. Hi there,

    I have a Sinningia Bullata which does not get any direct light. It gets afternoon filtered light from a west facing window sill.

    I bought it potted in a glass vessel using moss instead of soil. The pot is not drianed but it keeps well drained from the moss.

    Recently it has developed brown spots on the leaves which looks like rot. I’m afraid to cut the leaves as I don’t know what will happen. It has never flowered (in 2 months) but that does not matter to me as I love the unique look and texture of this plant.

    Do you have any care tips which may help me maintain a strong and potentially blooming plant?

    Kind regards,

    Adrian

    1. The spots might be from water drops that precipitated on the leaves. I’ve gotten brown spots on the leaves as well after accidentally spraying the plant with water. You can wait out the leaves to fall off naturally if that’s the case. If it looks more serious you can try spraying it with fungicide. In my experience fungicide does further damage to the leaves and they might fall off or you can try and rinse the fungicide an hour after the application to prevent further leaf damage. You can also make your own spray dissolving baking soda in water (the high pH disrupts fungal infections, since fungi like acidic conditions). Keep in mind that getting baking soda solution onto your sinningia bullata’s roots might be disastrous, since the plant likes acidic conditions.

      If you have a tuber formed at the bottom of your plant you can pretty much cut off the whole leafy part (and root it since your plant hasn’t started flowering yet) and new shoots will sprout out of the tuber shorty after. So don’t feel bad about removing a few leaves if you must. Running low on certain nutrients (mostly K) will makes your plant more susceptible to diseases like rot, and sometimes simply re-potting it solved the problem. If your leaves were browning at the tips I would suggest higher humidity and a humidity tray, though I don’t think that’s the case with your plant.

      Depending on how big your plant is, it might be just a matter of time before it starts blooming (sometimes it takes couple of years for the plant to reach blooming size). You can also try slightly higher light levels, maybe an hour or 2 direct morning/late afternoon light will be sufficient to induce blooming (that might help with the fungal infection as well).

      My best advise would be to make cuttings while you can. Once it starts blooming it seems impossible to propagate it. If you have just a few spots on your leaves you can definitely make cuttings and ignore the spots. That way you can try different conditions and see what works best. If there are a lot of spots, it might be better to just cut off and throw away the infected parts.

      I’ve made it a standard practice to propagate plants as soon as I acquire them. That way I always have a back up with my new plants, and can experiment with my conditions.

      I hope this was helpful. If you’re not sure which way to go with your plant you can always send me a picture of it, maybe I’ll be able to help out more.
      Vesi

  2. I just bought a Sinningia bullata plant. It has bulb (slight brown colour stuff, like a mushroom) above the soil, leaves come out from the middle of the bulb and round 4 inches high.

    Would you please advise

    1. how to do the Propagation? Is it to cut the leave part with part of the bulb and replant it in new pot?

    2. When I water the plant, should I water the bulb or the soil?

    Thanks

    1. 1. You can try to root a cutting. You cut off a small branch. Best place to cut it is about half an inch under a node (node is where leaves can come off from the sides of the stem), then remove the bottom leaves leaving 1 or 2 leaves at the top of the cutting. Dipping the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone before putting it in water or moist soil to root will definitely help. I have not tried to cut a piece off the bulb, it might cause the bulb to rot. If your plant is flowering size, rooting cuttings wont work. You’ll have to propagate the plant through seeds.

      2. Definitely water the soil. The bulb stores water and nutrients for the plant, so S. bullata can take occasional neglect. As long as the bulb remains healthy the plant will be able to recover from all sorts of issues. Watering the bulb directly, cutting it, or covering it with soil, all can lead to the bulb rotting, so I would not recommend it.

      I am not sure If I could manage cutting a piece of the bulb with a growth on it, without killing the original plant (getting the bulb to rot for example), but I think I might try it, since I have a spare S. bullata. I’ll let you know if I make it work.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions!
      Vesi

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