gloxinia tales

new gloxinia!

I was going to do an entry on blooms, comparing the different types of Nasturtium I have growing and the difference in their flowers, but I sort of hit a snag. I have a head cold and usually when I’m not feeling good, my physical balance takes a hit. I have Spina Bifida so my physical balance isn’t great to begin with, but when I have a cold, it feels like the world is tilting. So walking around the pots in my garden and trying to take photos and keep myself tumbling into the pool was a little too much this week.

HOWEVER, I bring to you instead an epic tale… well, sorta.

See, when I started thinking about this gardening business about two years ago, all I really knew was one thing: I wanted a gloxinia. They are this strange tropical flowers with pretty huge blooms (for a tiny plant) that are literally like velvet and very bright in color. I had never seen anything like it before or since.

My mom had gotten me years and years ago and I was FASCINATED with it. I managed to kill it (well, probably not, but more on that late…) which broke my heart. I searched and searched for one but could never find it.

Then when we built our house, I tried to get the landscapers to plant gloxinia, thinking *they* would know what the deal was with that elusive plant, and find some for me. I envisioned a front walk lined in gloxinia. But the landscapers they had no idea what it was or how to cultivate it even if they could plant it. I wasn’t gardening then so I had no idea either. I was disappointed, but life went on.

Then I started seriously gardening. As I started acquiring plants and containers, I knew one thing. I wanted that gloxinia! I went to every nursery in town on a hunt for one (this is before I realized plants could be sent via mail, but I digress…) and one told me they *might* get some in in about six months, and another did some complicated searching and told me that they could order one for about $40 (!!

So I searched online. I searched for the plants which turned up only a hit on eBay from a shady seller with a 70% positive rating. Then I searched for gloxinia seeds which turned up only one hit- 10 seeds for $4. I went with the seeds.

Needless to say, the seeds were not successful. Basically, they sent me a bag of ten particles of pollen. And I tried REALLY hard, not knowing that when you get a back of dust, you basically throw it away unless you have some horticultural tweezers, a neutral air zone, a white coat, and some sort of sterile lab.

If I had done my research from the start, I would have found out that gloxinia are actually from BULBS. Duh. But they were also hard to come by, at least when I did my search. Finally, an online garden store I liked had a tiny stock of them for about half a day and I managed to grab two. (Now I realize they are fairly easy to get, but that’s how I do things, apparently- the difficult way).

The bulbs arrived and I planted them and GLOXINIA HAPPINESS! They bloomed, went dormant, and I plucked the bulbs out of their pots and used the soil for something else. Instead of doing the right thing, which would be drying out the bulb and storing it in a cool, dry, dark place I LEFT THEM OUTSIDE, on the floor of the lanai, in the sun. I sort of forgot about them, I admit. (Yes, I know…)

But a few weeks ago I found one and tried to plant it again and it came back, instantly and beautifully. So there! Rule breaking gardener, that’s me!

rule breaker gloxinia

Anyway, last week we are shopping at Trader Joe’s and what do I see? A FREAKIN’ DISPLAY OF FULL GROWN GLOXINIAS. Double blooms! REALLY beautiful and healthy! Only $7!!

I mean… really? Tom and I just started laughing hard. After all that LOOKING, all that searching, going to every nursery within a 60 miles radius, the stupid “seed”, finally getting some bulbs… they just show up in a GROCERY store? *sigh*

Anyway, of course, I got one. I kind of regret not getting more because they are lovely and amazing and I love bulbs. But I am really enjoying the lavender one we did get.I’m leaving it in the house for now, right in the kitchen so I can REALLY enjoy it. But I’m pretty stoked. It was a happy surprise, for sure. I love love love stuff like that, especially when it comes to gardening.

Comments 3

  1. Donna wrote:

    Those are sooo pretty! Since they are bulbs, I am guessing they will multiply? If they do that would be really cool. You could start selling them too.

    Posted 30 Apr 2012 at 4:21 pm
  2. Misti wrote:

    Yay for your plant happiness! I’ve never grown gloxinia, I have seen them but never grew them. I think I thought they were northern plants, not something for Florida. I actually didn’t do a lot of bulbs because of that reason thinking that they wouldn’t work.

    Posted 30 Apr 2012 at 7:09 pm
  3. Jim wrote:

    I have had gloxnia bulbs for years ( just 6), they are certainly beautiful and enjoy them reblooming each year. However I would love to buy some more tubers (bulbs).Can you help me find a sourse of supply ?? Any help would be appreciated so much. Many Thanks Jim

    Posted 16 Feb 2013 at 8:43 pm

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