The Q&A Archives: Gloxinia Care

Question: I have two gloxinia, one white, one red. They both bloom occasionally but never as pretty as when I brought they home. The leaves gradually get smaller and the flower stalks do not support the flower heads well. I wait until dry before watering and fertilize about once a month with African Violet food. I know they go through a dormant period but I do not know when or if I should repot. At what point do I throw the plant out and get another?

Answer: Usually when flowering is sparse and leaves are small, plants need repotting. Wait until this winter when gloxinia's go into their natural dormancy, then repot. To really get gloxinia's into tip top shape, follow these guidelines: give the plants average household warmth (minimum 60F degrees), bright light (or shade if you put them outdoors in the summertime), keep the potting soil moist at all times, use tepid rather than cold tap water, and try to keep water off the leaves. Gloxinia's thrive in a moist environment so put the pot on a tray of pebbles and keep water in the tray - or mist the leaves occasionally- to provide the humidity it likes. Reduce watering when the plant has finished flowering, and stop feeding. Allow to dry out when the leaves turn yellow - then store the plant in the pot over the winter. Repot tuber in fresh potting soil in the spring, or repot while it's dormant (Jan - Feb.). Keep warm and dry until leaves appear, then provide the proper temperature, light and watering conditions.

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