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Anyone Can Grow Gloxinias With Grow Lights

Beautiful reddish colored Gloxinia growing on a windowsill

If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow flowering plant, look no further than Gloxinias! These beautiful plants can be grown indoors with grow lights and are perfect for anyone who loves to have colorful flowers around. Gloxinias come in various colors, so you can find the perfect one to match your decor. Plus, they bloom for a long time, so you’ll get plenty of enjoyment out of them. If you want just to read the grow light setup and recommendations for Gloxinias, please feel free to scroll below. However, if you’re going to be successful at growing Gloxinias, we encourage you to read this whole article.

What are Gloxinias?

Gloxinias, or Sinningia speciosa, are native to South America and known for their beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers. Technically speaking, what we call Gloxinias are not Gloxinias but are a member of the Gesneriad family, which includes African violets, Saintpaulias, and Kohlerias. The name Gloxinia dates back to 1785 and is in honor of the famous botanical writer of his day, Benjamin Peter Gloxin (1736 – 1783) from Colmar, now in modern-day France.

Old seed catalog from the 19th century featuring Gloxinia seeds for sale
Gloxinias have been a beloved flower for a very long time. The image above is taken from a seed catalog from 1897 by the F. R. Pierson Company of Tarrytown, New York.

Gloxinias are tuberous perennials that are typically grown as annuals in most places. They can grow to about 12 inches (30 cm) tall and have large, velvety leaves often mistaken for flower petals. Gloxinia flowers can be pink, red, violet, white, or bi-colored and can last up to six weeks. In their native Brazil, they grow as forest floor understory plants which means they do not like direct sunlight but dappled or filtered light.

Gorgeous purple colored Sinningia speciosa is an example of why Gloxinias are so popular.
This gorgeous purple colored Sinningia speciosa is an example of why Gloxinias are so popular.

Gloxinia Tubers – The Foundation for Successful Growing

As mentioned above, Gloxinias are tubers that resemble the shape of a turnip with smooth brown skin. They are typically started from seed but can also be propagated from offsets or stem cuttings taken from a mature plant. Many cultivars are available commercially, and their sizes can range from one to four inches (2.5 – 10 cm).

The gloxinia tuber is the foundation for a successful and beautiful gloxinia plant. It is from the tuber that the entire gloxinia plant will grow. For this reason, it is vital to choose healthy gloxinia tubers that are plump, firm, and free of blemishes or defects. These tubers can be purchased from a reputable nursery or online retailer.

A gloxinia tuber sprouting leaves
Pictured above is a healthy Gloxinia tuber that is ready for the growing season. When purchasing Gloxinia tubers make certain that they are firm to the touch and not soft or mushy.

How to Plant Your Gloxinia Tubers

Once you have your gloxinia tubers, it is time to plant them. Fill a planting pot with a well-draining potting mix and plant the tuber to cover the top barely. Water the soil lightly and place the pot in a warm, sunny location. You should see new growth emerging from the soil within a few weeks.

Plastic pot and soil to repot a Gloxinia plant
Make sure to select a pot with abundant drain holes such as the pot pictured above. The reason you want a pot with abundant drain holes is because Gloxinia tubers will rot if the planting material in the pot becomes waterlogged.

What is the best planting material to use for Gloxinias?

The best planting material to use for gloxinias is a well-draining potting mix. You can find this at any garden center or nursery. If you cannot find a well-draining potting mix, you can make your own by mixing equal parts peat moss, perlite, and sand. Some growers use pure un-milled sphagnum peat moss, but this can be not easy to find. While you may never find a bag of planting material labeled “Gloxinia Mix,” you can quickly find African violet soil mix at many gardening centers.

Potting mix for Gloxinias is basically the same mix as African violets
The best kind of planting mix for Gloxinia is heavy in organic material, such as shredded sphagnum peat moss and garden loam. Additionally, planting mixes that contain volcanic rock called perlite are superior because they help aerate and drain the pot of excess water. Any growing material labeled for use on African violets, such as African violet potting mix, is perfect to use for Gloxinias.

When to Repot your Gloxinia Plants?

As the gloxinia plant grows, you will need to repot it into a larger pot. Be sure to use a well-draining potting mix and choose a pot that is only one size larger than the current pot. However, we do not recommend that you repot your Gloxinia during its blooming period, as this can cause the plant to go into shock. The best time to repot gloxinias is in the spring, just as new growth is beginning to emerge from the tuber.

Carefully remove the Gloxinia from its current pot and gently loosen the roots. Please place it in the new pot and fill in with the fresh potting mix. Water the plant well and put it back in its sunny location.

How Often Should I Water My Gloxinias?

One of the most important things to remember when growing gloxinias is to keep the soil moist but not soggy. These plants come from tropical rainforests where the humidity is high, and the soils are constantly moist. If the soil around your gloxinia plant becomes too dry, the leaves will begin to wilt, and the plant will eventually die. On the other hand, if the soil is too wet, the roots will rot, and the plant will die. Therefore, do not let your gloxinias sit in water.

The best way to water gloxinias is to use a watering can with a nozzle that will slowly pour water out of the spout. Water the soil around the plant until it is evenly moist but not soggy. It is also good to use lukewarm water as cold water can shock the plant. Allow the excess water to drain away, and do not water again until the top inch or so of soil has dried out. Additionally, please do not get water on the leaves of your gloxinias, as this can cause ugly leaf spotting.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Once the plant has several leaves, you can fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer label. A balanced fertilizer such as a 15-15-15 is best to fertilize gloxinias every two weeks during the growing season. However, it would help if you did not fertilize them during the winter months when they are dormant.

It is important to note that gloxinias are heavy feeders and will benefit from being fertilized regularly. A good rule of thumb is to fertilize every two weeks during the growing season.

How To Care For Your Gloxinia Plant After Flowering?

Once your gloxinia plant is blooming, you can enjoy its beautiful flowers for several weeks. After the blooms fade, cut back on the watering and fertilizing to prepare the plant for its dormant period.

The perfect temperature for the Gloxinia bulb is between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is essential to keep the plant in a cool, dark location. A closet or basement is ideal. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

In the fall, you can begin the process repeatedly by replanting the gloxinia tuber. With care and attention, you can enjoy these beautiful flowers year after year.

How to Grow Gloxinias Under Lights

Now that we have absorbed quite a bit of knowledge of how to properly care for Gloxinia plants’ potting, soil, watering, and fertilizer needs, it’s time to discuss the most important topic of all – light. Without sufficient light, your Gloxinia plants will not bloom. It’s that simple. There are two kinds of light you can use to ensure both plant growth and the production of flower buds with Gloxinias. These are natural sunlight and grow lights.

While it is possible to place your Gloxinia plants outdoors during the spring and summer months to take advantage of natural sunlight, this isn’t always an option for everyone. If you live in an area with a lot of smog or pollution, the air quality might not be good enough for your Gloxinias. In this case, you will need to rely on grow lights to provide the light they need.

Which Grow Lights to Use for Gloxinias?

Grow lights come in two types – fluorescent and LED. While both grow lights will work for Gloxinias, we recommend using LED grow lights because they are more energy-efficient and last longer than fluorescent grow lights.

When choosing a grow light for your Gloxinias, it is essential to choose one that emits a full spectrum of light. This means the light should be close to the same color as sunlight. This type of light will help your Gloxinias produce more flowers. The Gloxinia Sinningia hybrids respond very well to most kinds of grow lights throughout their blooming season.

Regarding how much light your Gloxinias need, they should receive at least 12 hours of light per day. If you can provide more than 12 hours of light, that’s even better. Just be sure not to exceed 16 hours of light per day, as this can stress your plants.

What About Using Fluorescent Lights?

Even though most gardeners now recommend longer-lasting and energy-efficient LED lights, you can still use fluorescent lights if you have them. Many people have had great success growing Gloxinias under fluorescent lights.

When using fluorescent lights, the main thing to remember is to choose bulbs that emit a full spectrum of light, such as wide spectrum bulbs by Sylvania. All of our fluorescent grow carts come equipped with these types of wide-spectrum fluorescent bulbs. Full-spectrum fluorescent tubes will help your Gloxinias produce abundant flowers. You should also make sure the bulbs are placed close enough to the plants to receive the light they need. A good rule of thumb is to put the fluorescent bulbs about 6 inches (15 cm) away from the plant’s leaves. You will need one 40-watt bulb for every 2 square feet of grow space.

As with LED lights, you will want to provide at least 12 hours of light per day for your Gloxinias, but no more than 16 hours.

You can purchase both lights for these flowering plants, either LED or fluorescent fixtures, right on this website.

Currently, we have just one LED light that will work very well for all Gloxinias and Gloxinia Sinningia hybrids. This LED light is called Feit Electric Blue Spectrum Dual 2 foot LED Grow Light.

GLP24FS

With low heat emissions combined with low energy consumption, you can expect an average life span of 25,000 hours or 22.8 years per grow light. Emitting more light in the valuable 450nm blue spectrum range than regular white LED bulbs, this LED grow lamp improves your Gloxinia plants’ photosynthetic response. 

Efficient and Cost-Effective 2-Bulb Fluorescent Fixtures

Fluorescent Fixture 18 Inch 2 Lamp Chain GW215WS-C

The fluorescent fixture pictured above includes two 18-inch, 15-watt wide spectrum bulbs. The GW215WS-C fixture is small enough to be hung under a shelf with the included metal chains. This small fluorescent fixture is perfect for illuminating a 2-foot X 4-foot area, enough to accommodate several colorful flowering Gloxinia Sinningia hybrids.

Interestingly, before such a thing as LED grow lights, many Gloxinia growers used regular old shop lights with wide spectrum tubes for their plants. Fluorescent fixtures have a very long track record for growing gloxinias indoors under lights, so when in doubt, use what’s worked for the last 50 years.

How to Propagate Gloxinias

Propagating plants from cuttings and placing them under grow lights has always been fun to multiply your plants for free. The same is true for Gloxinias. I have recently had great success with gloxinias (Sinningia speciosa). To propagate gloxinias:

  1. Take 4-6 inch cuttings from a healthy plant.
  2. Remove the bottom leaves and dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone.
  3. Place the cuttings in moist perlite or vermiculite.
  4. Cover the pot with plastic wrap and place it in a bright, warm location, out of direct sunlight.
  5. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. The cuttings should root in 4-6 weeks.

Once the gloxinia cuttings have rooted, they can be transplanted into pots filled with a rich, well-drained potting mix. Place the pots under grow lights and keep the soil moist but not soggy. Gloxinias prefer bright, indirect light and 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures. They will bloom in 6-8 weeks under these conditions.

With a bit of patience, anyone can grow gloxinias from cuttings. These beautiful flowers make excellent houseplants and brighten up any room in your home.

Gloxinia tuber beginning to sprout new leaves
Gloxinia tubers like those pictured above will spring into action after their obligatory rest period. You need to plant the Gloxinia tubers in a pot with planting material, add some sun or artificial grow light, and then let nature do the rest.

Common Gloxinia Problems Solved

Despite the rock-solid advice on growing Gloxinias in this article, you might still run into some problems. For example, common gloxinia problems include:

  • Leaves turning yellow and then brown and dying
  • Stunted growth
  • Lack of blooms

Yellowing, Browning, and Dying Leaves

If you see your Gloxinia leaves turning yellow and then brown and dying, it could be due to several reasons, including:

  • Excess fertilizer, especially nitrogen
  • Too much direct sunlight
  • Not enough humidity
  • Bacterial or fungal disease

Solution:

To solve this problem, first, check if you have been fertilizing too frequently or using a fertilizer with too high a nitrogen content. If so, cut back on the fertilizer and switch to a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Try moving it to a shadier spot if you think your Gloxinia is getting too much sun. Gloxinias prefer bright, indirect light but can scorch in direct sunlight, especially during the hot summer months.

Stunted Growth

If your Gloxinia’s growth seems stunted, it could be due to several factors, including:

  • Too much or too little water
  • Poor drainage
  • Inadequate light
  • Fungal disease

Solution:

To solve this problem, make sure you water your Gloxinia regularly and not let the soil dry out completely between waterings. Also, make sure the pot has drainage holes and that you are not over-watering.

Gloxinias need bright, indirect light to thrive, so try moving it to a brighter spot if yours is not getting enough light. Lastly, if you suspect your Gloxinia has a fungal disease, please see a professional for treatment options.

Lack of Blooms

If your Gloxinia is not blooming, it could be due to one of the following reasons:

  • Not enough light
  • Too much nitrogen in the soil
  • Pests or disease

Solution:

The gloxinia plant needs 12-14 hours of bright, indirect sunlight every day to bloom properly. If yours is not getting enough light, try moving it to a brighter spot.

It is also essential to make sure the soil you are using does not have too much nitrogen, as this can prevent blooming. An excellent way to test if your soil has too much nitrogen is to take a sample to a local nursery or garden center and ask them to try it for you.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed reading our Gloxinia care guide. By no means is this the definitive guide on growing Gloxinias. Please see the research references below if you want to dig a little deeper to increase your knowledge of Gloxinias.

 

References:

Gloxinias, African Violets, and Other Gesneriads

Growing Gloxinia Houseplants: Learn About The Care Of Gloxinia Plant

 

 

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