Gloxinia Flowers

The gloxinia flower, which is sometimes referred to as the florist’s gloxinia, is a single species in the sinningia genus. The name gloxinia is also associated with a small genus under the same label. Although these plants are members of the same family – gesneriaceae – they are no longer grouped together. These blossoms, which originated in Brazil, are delicate in appearance, but can grow to relatively large sizes – sometimes reaching heights of at least 1 foot. Their leaves are ovate and grow to about 6 inches; while their ruffled, velvety, bell-shaped heads generally reach sizes of 4 inches in circumference. Their colors range in rich hues of purple, red, pink and white; they may be solid, bicolored or edged in white.

Because the sinningia speciosa is so frequently confused with the gloxinia genus, it is not surprising that seasoned gardeners would try to differentiate between the two plants by labeling one the “florist’s gloxinia flower.” The reason for this confusion is quite simple. Although the gloxinia flower was first noted sometime during the mid-1780s, it was finally christened in 1817 by the English nurseryman, Conrad Loddiges. The name gloxinia speciosa was given in honor of the German botanist P.B. Gloxin; however, in 1825, the plant was moved to the sinningia species, and the name changed shaped. Because of the time that had passed between the original and the new name, it became a habit for people simply to call this blossom by the common name of gloxinia. Despite any confusion in name, the gloxinia flower is a very recognizable plant, and is well loved by those who take the time to propagate it. The best example of this is the Gesneriad Society, which was founded on a passion for growing these lovely little blooms. In 1949 a little boy named Elvin McDonald read an article in the Flower Grower magazine, which spoke of Albert Buell – better known as the father of modern gloxinias – and his growing methods. After a few years of trying to grow these blooms in his own garden, the young man submitted a letter to the Flower Grower urging people to respond if they would be interested in starting a group of fellow enthusiasts; he received hundreds of responses, and the Gesneriad Society was formed.

Gloxinia flowers are best known as the symbol of love at first sight. Because of this, these blossoms are frequently given as gifts on romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, first dates, or anniversaries. Although these plants are often given in bouquets and arrangements, they may also be presented in containers or decorative pots.

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