Sinningia tubiflora (Hardy White Gloxinia) - A tuberous perennial that forms a spreading mound of soft fuzzy silver gray-green leaves. These leaves rise up on erect stems from potato-like tubers to about 1 foot tall and in late spring to early summer appear the 1- to 2-foot-tall unbranched inflorescences topped by pendulous very long (3 to 4 inches long!) tubular white flowers that are blushed pink toward the base and have broadly flared petal tips. These flowers are sweetly fragrant and attract hummingbirds.
Plant in full sun (where it blooms best) to light shade in just about any well drained soil or in a pot where its spreading nature can be contained and it seems to like to be crowded. Irrigate regularly to sparingly and best if kept on the dry side in a well-drained soil in winter when deciduous. It is drought tolerant even when in active growth in a container, can reportedly handle salt spray near the beach and is hardy anywhere the ground does not freeze so long as the tubers are below the surface of the soil or are heavily mulched – noted to be able to withstand winter temperatures down to around 0° F but does not flower well in locations where winter temperatures do not drop below 60° F. In Hawaii it is noted to remain evergreen but not produced flowers. The tubers can be exposed to be shown off in a pot but then can be subject to damage with only a light frost.
Sinningia tubiflora is native to Uruguay, Paraguay and north Argentina. The genus was named for Wilhelm Sinning (1792-1874) a gardener and botanist at the University of Bonn Botanical Garden. The specific epithet is from the Latin 'tubus' meaning "a tube" or "a pipe" and 'florus' meaning "a flower" or "to flower" in reference to the tubular flowers of this species.
We received this plant in 1998 from Mike Craib, then working for Suncrest Nurseries and have been growing it ever since. We also grow a pink flowering hybrid called Sinningia 'Invasion Force', another darker pink hybrid called Sinningia 'Lovely' and a white and yellow hybrid called Sinningia 'Butter and 'Cream'.
Information about Sinningia tubiflora displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.