Sinningia bulbosa

  1. Habit and Tuber
  2. Why doesn't it bloom?
  3. Feature table
  4. External link
  5. Publication and etymology

Habit and Tuber

I have several plants of this species, all grown from seed, but none has ever even had flowerbuds.  The stems usually remain on the plant all winter.

The tubers are interesting.  See a picture of one oddball.

Sinningia bulbosa is one of the "Galea Group", a cluster of closely related species which all have flowers with an overhanging upper lip, formed by the two uppermost corolla lobes.

Sinningia bulbosa
bulbosa: show plant

Why doesn't it bloom?

I had several plants of this species, and placed them in different situations in my yard (all are outdoors).  One was in full sun, another in part shade.  None of the plants ever bloomed.  One by one, they succumbed to mysterious ailments.  I can't say I miss them.

Other people get flowers.  This plant was exhibited by Lynn Cook and Troy Ray at the 2011 Gesneriad Society convention in Philadelphia, and was runner-up to Best in Show.  The picture is by Dale Martens.

Feature table for Sinningia bulbosa

Plant Description

Growth Indeterminate
Habit Upright or spreading stem(s)
Leaves Plain green on both sides
Dormancy Stems not deciduous in my yard.


Inflorescence extended axis.
Season Mine have not bloomed
Flower Red, tubular, with galea

Horticultural aspects

From seed My plants were started in 2001 but have never bloomed.
Hardiness Has survived 30F (-1C) in my yard without any leaf damage
Recommended? Not by me.  In many years of cultivation, my plants never bloomed.  There is nothing memorable about the foliage, and the flowers are smaller and less fascinating than (say) Sinningia cardinalis.


Taxonomic group The galea group of the Dircaea clade.

External Links

Mauro Peixoto's web site has a picture of the flowers.

As mentioned above, an award-winning plant at the 2011 Gesneriad Society convention in Philadelphia was this plant of Sinningia bulbosa.  A closeup of the tuber can be seen here.


Sinningia bulbosa was first published (as Gesneria bulbosa) in 1818 by John Bellenden Ker-Gawler (1764-1842).  It was a rechsteineria and a corytholoma after that.  Hans Wiehler transferred it to Sinningia in 1978.

Etymology: from Latin bulba ("onion", or presumably other bulb).