Propagation of Sinningia defoliata

  1. Rooted cutting
  2. Base of cutting
  3. Tuber
  4. Rhizome
  5. Shoots from rhizome

It is not obvious how to propagate Sinningia defoliata vegetatively, since it appears to have only a tuber plus one or more leaves.  However, as we learned on the home page for this species, what looks like a simple leaf is actually a leaf at the end of a stem with one or more dormant buds.  This gives us the machinery to do the propagation.

This picture shows the base of the leaf/stem, where it is anchored to the tuber.  The small leaves mark the location of buds that will help in propagation.

defoliata stem base

This picture shows a rooted cutting of Sinningia defoliata.  The cutting was taken at the beginning of July 2015, at the Growers Forum at the Oakland convention of the Gesneriad Society.  This picture was taken just under four months later.  The cutting is fully rooted.  The pot is 10 cm [4 inches] on a side, so the width of the plant in the picture is about 30 cm [12 inches].

The secret is to take a small piece of tuber with the base of the stem cutting.  Peter Shalit slices carefully and cleanly; I gouge out the piece with my thumbnail.  Both methods work.

Before planting it, I removed about 2/3 of the leaf blade, to ease the cutting's burden of trying to keep itself fully inflated with water.  The truncated leaf is on the left side of the photograph.  The other two leaves are new.

rooted defoliata cutting

This picture shows the base of the rooted cutting.  The base of the cutting is on the left.  The two slender shoots on the right are new.

One shoot is close to the original cutting, but one is on the other side of the pot.

This is the first time I got more than one shoot from a planted cutting of this species.

defoliata shoots

This picture shows the base of the original cutting.  A new tuber has formed.

The new tuber probably developed from the tuber tissue that was taken with the cutting.

After this picture was taken, the cutting, now shorn of its new shoots, was replanted in hopes of getting more plantlets.

rooted defoliata cutting

When the second shoot was dug up, there was a surprise.  Instead of a conventional stem base, there was this rhizome connecting the new plantlet to the original cutting.

This white rhizome looked a lot like the structures created by Sinningia tubiflora, which link the satellite tubers to the main tuber.

It is worth noting that Sinningia defoliata and Sinningia tubiflora are both members of the core group of the Corytholoma cladeSinningia warmingii is another species that forms such rhizomes.

rooted defoliata cutting

This picture shows the shoots forming at the junction between the rhizome and the stem.

defoliata shoots