S. ‘Prudence Risley’ is such a wonderful sinningia hybrid by James Steuerlein. This plant has large and long waxy flowers. The blooms are medium wine red in color with pink undertones. They look red-pink on photos, but they are closer to red in person. The leaves are light to medium green, small compared to the flowers, slightly fuzzy and serrated.
The plant is free branching and everblooming. It flowers heavily, even when small. Rooted cuttings start blooming while they are still in the propagation ziplock bag sometimes. It’s one of my most favorite sinningias.
It’s been extremely easy to grow. This hybrid can handle less than perfect conditions. It is very easy to propagate and is always flowering. The fact that the flowers are large makes it stand out even more.
This plant has tolerated anything from leaving it in soggy soil to fully drying it out. It’s also very easy to propagate through cuttings, so if you mess up the growing conditions, take some cuttings and you might be able to still save your plant. With that being said, it has average watering needs. Seems to do great with keeping the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. If you accidentally dry it out, you can always soak it for a bit.
I would recommend part shade to shade. East and west windowsills are ideal, or a north facing garden window. I have had it growing and flowering on a regular north facing window, but the plant got leggy and flowered less. You can also grow it under lights.
Keep the humidity on the higher end. If you spray the plant, the leaves will get covered in spots, so use a humidity tray or a humidifier instead. If the humidity is on the lower end, this plant is more likely to get spider mites or aphids, especially on the flower stems and the flowers themselves.
Soil Type and Fertilizer:
I would recommend a slightly richer soil than your average african violets’ soil. You can simply add a bit of compost, peat moss and perlite to your african violet soil and use that, or make your own mix with regular potting soil, extra peat moss for acidity, perlite or vermiculite, with a bit of compost. Regular feeding with diluted fertilizer, either a regular fertilizer for flowering plants, or african violet fertilizer will do. I also recommend using it at less than the recommended concentration, but more often. You can fertilize it pretty much throughout the year, since this plant doesn’t really slow down in terms of growth and flowering, at least in my experience.
You can propagate it using cuttings. You can root them in water, or in moist soil. I like to use ziplock bags with a bit of evenly moist, but not soggy soil. I tend to dip the cuttings in a bit of rooting hormone powder and “plant” them in the ziplock bag. Then I close it and leave it almost indefinitely on a windowsill. That way you don’t have to worry about watering the plants while they are in the ziplock bags, and take your time. Alternatively, you can just place some cuttings in a bit of water, and they will root pretty quickly.
Other Care Tips and Personal Observations:
Despite the large flowers, the plant can be kept pretty compact. I’d say it’s a compact to medium sized sinningia. The flower stems and flowers themselves, tend to be pretty susceptible to aphids and spider mites. When you treat your plant with insecticides, the leaves tend to get quite damaged too. Don’t worry too much about it, since the plant is a pretty vigorous grower and will recover quickly. If you get an infestation, I recommend removing all flowers and flower buds for the moment, until the plant is back to being pest free, and just put up with the unsightly leaves for the time being. After it recovers and starts growing new leaves and branches, you can remove the old, damaged ones. Other than that, it’s an extremely easy and rewarding plant to have. It does not require dormancy and its free branching habit and beautiful, large, trumpet-shaped flowers makes it such a great plant to have.