With large silvery foliage Sinningia leucotricha (syn. Rechsteineria leucotricha) and more commonly known as Brazilian Edelweiss makes an excellent houseplant.
The foliage is covered with a layer of silvery white hairs or indumentum that give if soft velvety look.
It grow naturally on rocky cliff faces in fertile pockets. Here it gets good moisture and good drainage.
Over time the plant will form a woody caudex, and this is one of the features that makes it a good houseplant. The caudex stores moisture and makes the plant more tolerant of neglect. Not that anyone neglects plants deliberately, however it happens.
With a little care, individual leaves will last for 18 months or more,new growth naturally appearing before the older foliage drops. Flowers are and orange colour, tubular and appearing as terminal clusters above the foliage. Some specimens are seen with flowers close to red on colour, however most are orange.
Sinningia leucotricha Care
This is a succulent plant and does have a period of active growth and a period of dormancy. This growth habit determine watering and care.
- Use a free draining succulent potting mix.
- Use a shallow, rather than deep pot, this assist with preventing water logging of indoor plants.
- Water lightly when in active growth.
- As the plant enters dormancy in winter, cut back on watering. Just enough to stop the soil from drying completely.
- Use water that has been allowed to sit over night. This helps any chlorine to dissipater and also allows the chill to come off the water. Sinningia leucotricha does come from warm climates.
- Temperature needs to warm, and plants should not be placed in cold drafts.
- Good strong filtered light, however no exposure to direct sunlight.
- You can tidy up by removing the spent flower heads if you like.
Best in a container with good morning light and filtered light through the middle of the day. Long skinny leaves usually mean a lack of light.
Use a free draining potting mix, Begonias do nor like wet feet. You could use a specialist succulent and cactus potting mix, or make your own.
A simple recipe is:
3 parts peat or normal potting mix, 1 part perlite, 1 part coarse washed river sand, 1 part pumice, 1 part vermiculite.
- Temperature Range
Ideally indoors 5° Celsius (41 F) and 30° Celsius (85° F) it will grow in cooler temperatures, but will not grow well 5° Celsius (41 F) and will not tolerate frosts very well.
Use a wet dry cycle, water well and then allow the soil/potting mix to dry partially. This allows air into the soil and assists with root growth. Once the soil dries a little, water again. Usually once a week should do, depending on growing conditions. Avoid mist spraying.
Use a slow release fertiliser when repotting and liquid feed once a month from spring through summer.
Repot when the plant has outgrown the pot it is in or the soil shows signs go breaking down and holding too much moisture
Propagation is usually from seeds or very occasionally from cuttings by means of removing and pups, or root offsets that may appear.
Seed germination is by the usual methods.
- Propagation mix.
- Seeds sown on surface.
- Light covering of Propagation mix to keep seeds in place and only just covered.
- Spay to keep moist on a regular basis.