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Products > Sinningia leucotricha
Sinningia leucotricha - Brazilian Edelweiss

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Gesneriaceae (Gesnerias)
Origin: South America
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Rechesteineria leucotricha, S. canescens, Hort.]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Sinningia leucotricha (Brazilian Edelweiss) - Unusual and attractive long lived tuberous perennial with a large rounded tuber that can reach a foot across on older plants and from which emerges a few short stems holding two or three opposite pairs of small fuzzy silver leaves in that enlarge to 6 to 10 inches long. The showy salmon colored flowers begin to bloom just above the foliage in spring to early summer with foliage losing the silver cast as flowers fade and then ultimately dropping off to begin a dormancy period but timing is not always predictable and leaves will sometime stay on the plant longer, only shedding them when new leaves are emerging in early spring. Some have had luck inducing this plant to rebloom a second time by cutting off the stems after the first bloom has finished. Grow in part to full sun along the coast or with afternoon shade inland in a well-drained soil and water regularly to occasionally when leaves are present and very sparingly if at all when dormant. It is quite hardy when the tuber is planted beneath the soil, tolerating temperatures as cold as 9F or less and considered hardy for USDA Zones 7b to 10b. In milder Southern California can be grown outdoors with tuber exposed and can be grown as a window sill plant indoors. The combination of a decorative tuber bearing silver foliage as a foil for the contrasting pale orange flowers makes for a very attractive sight and for this reason this plant is often displayed attractively with the caudex exposed by succulent enthusiasts at shows. The Pacific Bulb Society also notes that it is a great garden plant for Southern California. In its native habitat this plant is pollinated by hummingbirds and so likely when grown outdoors will be attractive to them in the garden. Sinningia leucotricha comes the state of Parana in southern Brazil where is grows as a lithophyte in exposed crevices on rocks or cliffs. The name for the genus honors Wilhelm Sinning (1792-1874), a gardener of the University of Bonn Botanic Garden and the specific epithet is from the Latin words 'leuco' meaning white and 'trich' meaning "hair" in reference to the silvery white hairs on the leaves. This plant was first described in 1956 by the Brazilian botanist Frederico Carlos Hoehne as Rechsteineria leucotricha and later combined with Sinningia in 1973. It was thought by some to a form of Sinningia canescens but is now considered to be a distinct species. The common name Brazilian Edelweiss is because the densely hairy silver leaves look as they emerge somewhat like the European alpine plant edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) but in its native Brazil it is called Rainha do Abismo, which translates to "Queen of the Abyss" in reference to the steep cliffs where this plant naturally grows.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Sinningia leucotricha.