Luxurious velvet edging on the leaves of indoor plants is not uncommon. But every time you get a chance to admire the special large leaves of the former Rechsteineria, now reclassified into the genus Gloxinia-Sinningia, it is difficult to restrain your delight. Soft silver velvet, glowing and shimmering in the light, feels like an unrivaled luxury. And although this plant does not have such an impressive appearance, and the size is very modest, the beauty of the leaves compensates for all the shortcomings. And when long narrow scarlet tubes bloom on the peduncles, this capricious exot completely reveals all its uniqueness and reminds that not all Gesneriaceae are the same in character.
Indoor rehsteineria. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Mike
What does gloxinia-rechsteineria look like?
Differences between gloxinia and rechsteineria
The most popular highly decorative species of Rechsteineria (or Rechsteineria), most popular in indoor culture, have recently been reclassified from an independent and easily recognizable genus Rechsteineria to a much more extensive genus of plants – Sinningia or Gloxinia (Sinningia). But the debate about the relationship of these plants and how much rechsteineria can be compared with a much more densely leafy and effectively blooming synningia do not subside and generate more and more confusion.
Despite the fact that both plants represent the family of the best velvety-pubescent, flowering indoor crops, Rekhsteineria and Gloxinia differ significantly in appearance. Of course, they have a lot in common, but flowering and leaves easily make it possible to distinguish the former rechsteineria from the more familiar Gloxinia-synningia.
Unlike large-flowered sinningia with luxurious bells, rekhsteineria produce only red, narrow and modest tubular flowers. And the bright green color of the much more numerous gloxinia leaves is replaced by luxurious silver velvet.
Whether to call the rechsteinerii further by their own name or to call them silver sinningia is not decisive. Moreover, many natural wild plant species are still classified as rechsteineria. These are special plants that, regardless of the name, are easily recognizable in any company.
Botanical description of the plant
Rechsteinerii are Latin American endemics. These are not very common and not often found in the sale of plants, which are rightly ranked as exclusive exotics. In nature, rechsteineria can be found in tropical forests, where their silvery edge glows in the shade of large vines and trees. The natural area of the Reichsteinerium “stretched” from Mexico to Argentina.
Rekhsteinerii are herbaceous perennials with large leaves and modest dimensions. Rechsteinerium species do not exceed 25-30 cm in height, the shoots of the plant are straight and strongly pubescent. Rechsteineria can be easily distinguished by its tuberous-thickened rhizome.
The leaves of the plant are up to 20 cm long, ovoid-oval, with a blunt apex, whorled or oppositely located at the apex of the shoot. The edge on the leaves is dense, but short, tomentose, velvety, very pleasant to the touch. The light green base color of the leaf plates is almost hidden under the silvery tint of the pubescence. A solid or slightly wavy edge enhances the beauty of the leaves.
Rechsteineria in their development go through a period of complete dormancy, shedding their leaves by the beginning of winter. Dying off for the winter, on the one hand, does not allow rechsteineria to maintain high decorativeness throughout the year, but on the other hand, it allows the plant to be removed from the windowsills and simplifies care. Usually the dormant period begins in October and ends by February.
How does Rechsteineria bloom?
Despite the fact that it is the leaves that are considered the main pride of rechsteinerii, and do not forget about flowering. Of course, neither in size nor beauty can the flowers be compared with the bells of related gloxinias, but they still deserve attention when decorating plants.
The apical little-flowered umbrellas collect strikingly narrow tubular flowers. Double-lipped, up to 7 cm long, they conquer not only with a narrow tube, but also with a special, scarlet-salmon, dark red, muted color, the nobility of which is ideally combined with a silver edge.
The flowering period of Rechsteineria lasts all summer.
Silver-leaved Gloxinia-Rechsteinerium species
In the genus Rechsteineria there are more than 70 plant species, the qualifications of which are being actively revised today. In room culture, only two types of former rechsteinerii are actively used, and the plants are strikingly similar to each other, differing only in color.
Rechsteineria white-pubescent (Rechsteineria leucotricha) or white-pubescent sinningia-gloxinia (Sinningia leucotricha) is a Brazilian compact herbaceous perennial with a tuberous rhizome and straight shoots up to 30 cm high. The base color is not visible due to the very dense pubescence, which gives the plant a grayish velvety texture. The flower tubes are strikingly narrow, with a salmon tinge in color.
Rechsteineria scarlet (Rechsteineria cardinalis, synonym – Sinningia scarlet, Sinningia cardinalis) is also a herbaceous perennial of Brazilian origin with a typical crab-like root and shoots up to 25 cm high. Shoots and leaves are heavily pubescent. Oval leaves with a heart-shaped base and a blunt top are light green, with a short silver velvet edge, which does not interfere with maintaining the feeling of “greenness”. Scarlet flowers up to 7 cm in length are collected in umbrellas at the tops of the shoots.
Conditions for growing indoor rechsteinerii
Rechsteineria is often considered a conservatory-only plant in tropical collections. And this is no coincidence. Love for warmth and high humidity, special lighting, and indeed, it is easier to satisfy in greenhouses, as well as the requirements for controlled temperatures. But this plant is also suitable for indoor culture – subject to very careful care.
It is easy to find conditions for rechsteineria, but this plant does not like extremes and changes. For rehsteineria, you have to literally create an ideal environment and take into account any little things, even airing.
After the rekhsteineriya completely throws off the leaves and the shoots dry out, the plant goes into a dormant period. To achieve flowering in rekhsteineria, the stage of complete rest must last from 3 to 4 months. The main thing that rehsteineria needs at this time is cool temperatures and absolute dryness. The plant can be removed from the soil and stored in ventilated boxes like any other tuberous crop, or left in a dry substrate.
Lighting and placement of rehsteineria in the interior
It is not so easy to find comfortable lighting for rehsteineria. In indoor conditions, this plant retains a love for diffused, soft light, but its light dependence increases. Rechsteineria should be protected from direct sunlight, exhibited in places that are light, but not too bright. It is best to monitor the plant during the period of active growth and adjust the light level depending on how the leaves react, focusing, first of all, on the signals of color change or wilting.
During the dormant period, as soon as the above-ground parts of the plant dry out, lighting for rehsteineria does not matter. She can stay in a completely dark room, and in partial shade, and in the light. If the rechsteineria is dug up, then its tubers are kept in the dark.
Rechsteineria is a small, decorative leafy and textured accent for small rooms. The plant reveals its strengths best alone, but goes well with any indoor crops with dull and dark leaves. This culture perfectly supports velvet in the textile palette of the interior, it can be used as a support for silver trim elements.
Rechsteineriya is perfect for decorating light window sills and places near the window in rooms with a calm atmosphere. Including looks great in the bedroom, bathroom with window, library. For this plant, rooms with south or southeast windows are preferable.
Temperature control and ventilation
Heat-loving rechsteineria does not like extreme heat, but prefers to grow in stable warm temperatures. The greatest decorative effect of the leaves of a plant can be observed if the air temperature is close to + 20 … + 22 ° С in the stage of active development. The minimum temperature is + 16 ° С, but from spring to autumn it is better if the indicators do not fall below + 18 ° С. An increase to + 25 ° C is painful for the plant.
The dormant period for rehsteineria must be cool. For this culture, after dropping the aboveground parts, movement should be organized at temperatures from +12 to + 16 ° C. Too much lowering of these indicators can be destructive, and high temperatures will not allow you to achieve flowering from rehsteineria.
To awaken the plant, the air temperature is sharply increased after planting or transplanting tubers. Before the plant has the first shoots, the rechsteineria is kept at a temperature of +20 to + 25 ° C. Once the shoots have begun to grow, the plant can be moved to more familiar temperatures.
For this culture, any, even slight temperature changes can become too much stress. She doesn’t even like the difference in day and night temperatures. Drafts are not allowed. Rechsteineria needs to be protected even from little active air currents, placing it where the plants will not constantly walk past.
Rehsteineria care at home
Rechsteineria care is often “advertised” as being in many ways similar to gloxinia care, but it is still not like the requirements for caring for any other member of the Gesneriev family.
Rechsteineriya is more like an exclusive exotic species in character, it is overly demanding and capricious. This plant does not like watering mistakes, needs regular water treatments and is not suitable for those who often travel. Constant monitoring and checking of the condition, neatness in everything, of course, do not simplify the care of the plant.
It is necessary to decide on growing rehsteineria after a careful analysis of your capabilities. This highly moody culture is suitable for experienced flower growers and those who prefer complex tasks. For beginner florists, rehsteineria is clearly not the best choice.
Watering and air humidity
Rechsteineria are sensitive to too abundant and inaccurate watering. This plant must be watered so as to maintain a stable light moisture content of the substrate – after the topsoil dries out. Moderate, not too abundant, but more frequent watering is preferred. Water this plant very carefully, along the edge of the pot. Water should never get to the root. If possible, it is better to replace classic irrigation with drip or automatic irrigation (bottom irrigation through the pallet is dangerous from the point of view of waterlogging of the soil in the lower layers).
For the winter, watering is stopped completely. But it is undesirable to drastically change the humidity for this plant: watering begins to be gradually reduced as soon as flowering is completed, drying the lump more and more so that after the dying off of the aboveground part, the plant switches to dry conditions. The reverse transition – from the dormant stage to active growth – also requires very careful watering.
It is better to start these procedures with spraying, after which rare light watering is gradually increased to regular regular procedures, ensuring stable soil moisture. After planting or transplanting at the end of February, they begin to spray the soil, preventing it from getting too wet. Classic watering is resumed only after the shoots begin to grow, also starting with light procedures and gradually switching to more abundant watering.
Water for irrigation should be warm, settled and soft.
Rechsteineria’s love for tropical moisture indicators is the most controversial and problematic moment in the cultivation of this crop. On the one hand, rekhsteinerii cannot tolerate even the smallest particles of water getting on the leaves, not to mention getting them wet. Spraying for rechsteineria is carried out only from a very long distance, “through the air”, but it is better to entrust the task of increasing air humidity to humidifiers.
The minimum indicators, comfortable for rehsteinerie – 60%. Of course, to install containers with wet moss or pebbles, industrial humidifiers are needed only during the period of active growth, and not during the dormant period, which should be dry.
Top dressing and composition of fertilizers
For rehsteineria, top dressing is carried out only during the period of active growth, from the moment the shoots and leaves begin to grow and until the end of flowering. Fertilizers are applied at a standard frequency of 1 every 2 weeks.
For rechsteineria, it is advisable to use special fertilizers for flowering plants. If you have a supply of organic fertilizers, then you can alternate mineral and organic fertilizers.
Transplant and substrate
Rechsteineria during the dormant period can be left in the soil or removed from it. But it is imperative that before the plant awakens, it is necessary to transplant it into a fresh substrate. For this plant, the transplant is carried out at a time when the duration of daylight hours begins to noticeably increase – in February. If the period of flowering and growing season is shifted, then 3-4 months are counted after the beginning of the dormant stage.
For rehsteineria, you need to choose light ones that are not prone to soil compaction. Fertile, permeable, loose and not too coarse substrates with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction are ideal. If the mixture is prepared independently, then you can mix leaf soil, sand and peat in a 2: 1: 1 ratio, using expanded clay, perlite (or any other loosening additive) to correct the texture of the soil.
There is nothing difficult in planting a plant. The tuber is placed on a mound of the substrate so that the top of the root remains above the surface of the soil (deepening by half or slightly more from the height of the tuber). A very high layer of drainage is laid on the bottom of the pots to ensure that a too damp substrate does not occur in the pot. The optimal height of the drainage layer is about a quarter of the height of the pot.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
Despite the exotic status, rechsteineria demonstrates considerable resistance to diseases and pests. She is more threatened by the mistakes of the owners in the care than insects and fungi. Rotting stems with improper watering and dampness of the substrate turns into the spread of gray rot. Powdery mildew is occasionally found on rekhsteinerii.
Common growing problems:
- rolling leaves in dry air;
- wilting of leaves in dry air.
Reproduction of rekhsteineriya
There are several methods to get new plants from Rechsteinerii. But only one method has become popular – the separation of the tubers. The parent plant of this culture is not inclined to form daughter tubers over time, which, as they grow and release strong roots, could be separated and grown as an independent bush. Children are rare. You have to cut the tuber itself, separating parts with one or two points of growth.
Even drying the sections and treating them with charcoal or fungicides, gentle watering or hot greenhouse conditions are not a guarantee of rooting. After separation, all parts may die, and the very process of long-term rooting and healing does not simplify the task of growing new rekhsteinerii.
For this, plants are also used by cuttings. In Rekhsteineria, stem cuttings are cut, choosing medium-sized shoots with 2-3 leaves (a prerequisite is the presence of a heel) and rooting them in sand or a mixture of substrate and sand.
For rechsteineria it is not enough to maintain stable soil moisture, high air humidity and temperature around + 24 … + 25 ° С. When rooting, you cannot do without bottom heating. Cuttings are prone to decay, so the humidity should be light, but stable for the substrate and high for the air.
The seeds of the plant are microscopic, require special conditions for germination and, as a rule, rechsteineria from seeds are not grown at home.
If you are growing rechsteineriya, share your experience of growing this exotic in the comments to the article. Our readers will be grateful to you!