Monday, June 24, 2024

Rhizomatous plants: resprouting?

Question:  I have a Gloxinia erinoides ‘Polo Polo’ which I planted in a terrarium.  It has only one leaf left alive and tiny green and white things on the otherwise naked upright stems.  One stem has nothing left at all.  Do you think the plant will come back from its roots?  It seems barely alive.

Answer:  The little “green and white things” are actually rhizomes.  All Gloxinia are rhizomatous plants (Sinningia which are often mistakenly called gloxinia are tuberous), and this is their way of reproducing easily.  So long as the plant, or its rhizomes, remain alive, they will eventually develop into new growth.  The high humidity in your terrarium also happens to be conducive to producint rhizomes above the soil.  Just let the plant resprout and grow out.  Keep it moist, but not soggy–you don’t want to rot the rhizomes.  Rhizomatous plants like this one tend to be well-suited to survival and reproduction.  Each one of those tiny “scales” that you see on the rhizomes has the potential for becoming and individual plant!  If anything, the plant you are concerned about surviving may very well be, in time, the dominant plant in your terrarium!

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