Sinningia hirsuta

Sinningia hirsuta is a very attractive species, with hairy leaves and calyces, but not easy to grow.

  1. Hybridization
  2. Feature table
  3. Publication and etymology

As the name suggests, this is one of the hairy sinningias.  This picture and the one below show that the calyxes are particularly hairy.

I have found this species to be difficult to grow.  Outdoors it does not like cold winters, while indoors it is susceptible to mildew and other problems.  Tackle this one if you're good with cranky plants or like a challenge.

My last tuber went dormant one year and never sprouted again.


Sinningia 'Freckles' is S. concinna x hirsuta, hybridized by Carl Clayberg in the 1960s.  Since the two species are in different subgroups (S. concinna in the Corytholoma clade, while S. hirsuta belongs to the Sinningia clade), it is not surprising that 'Freckles' is sterile.  However, a presumed tetraploid, S. 'Hircon', was created from 'Freckles', and this plant is fertile.

Several years ago, both Dave Zaitlin and Mauro Peixoto crossed S. hirsuta with S. kautskyi.  After some consultation, they named the resulting hybrid S. 'Amizade', from the Portuguese word for friendship.  Since S. hirsuta and S. kautskyi are in the same clade, there was at least a chance that S. 'Amizade' would be fertile.  Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case.  Both Dave and Mauro report that they have been unable to self 'Amizade' or back-cross it to one of its parents.

Although it is a little surprising that crosses within a clade will be infertile, it is not entirely unexpected.  For example, see the discussion of hybrid fertility within the Sinningia clade.

See the photo of S. 'Amizade' on the Gesneriad Society's web site.  The plant was grown by Gary Dunlap.

Feature table for Sinningia hirsuta

Plant Description

Growth Indeterminate
Habit Stem short, giving plant a rosette appearance
Leaves Hairy
Dormancy Normal


Season Summer
Flower White, with purple throat, narrow white stripe down the center of the throat, dark purple spots on both the white stripe and the purple sides. Width of flower: about 2 cm [less than an inch].

Horticultural aspects

Hardiness One year it survived 32F (0C) in my yard
Problems and pests Mildew one year
Recommended? Not exactly.  This is a very attractive species, but (for me) hard to keep alive.  If you're a better grower than I am (and who isn't), try this one.


Hybrids with this species See listing.

Botany and Ecology

Taxonomic group In a subgroup by itself within the Sinningia clade.
Conservation status Endangered.  According to Alain Chautems, the material now in cultivation may all be from a very old introduction, perhaps even the one mentioned in the 1826 publication.

External Link

The Gesneriad Society's web site has a picture of a plant of S. hirsuta entered in the 2002 convention show.


Sinningia hirsuta was first published (as a Gloxinia) in 1826 by John Lindley (1799-1865).  It was transferred to Sinningia by Nichols in 1887.

Etymology: Latin hirsuta ("hairy").