|Micro Mini Sinningia - I love flowers, and I love them even more knowing that I can|
enjoy them all year! But the tiny little packages are what I love most of all!
When you grow small house plants, you don't have to worry about the biggest problem that most people face when trying to
enjoy a touch of nature indoors - space! And, if you're like me, once you have a few plants, you're going to be hungry for more :)
When I found out that plants don't have to be big to be beautiful, a whole new world opened up to me!
For some reason, I've always been infatuated with all things miniature! In kindergarten, I remember my teacher reading us a story
called "The little old lady who lived in a vinegar bottle." Although I don't remember anything about the story itself, I can still
remember dreaming about what it might be like to live in atiny little cottage hidden somewhere among the ferns on the forest
floor. And, after all these years... I'm still dreaming :)
Many years ago, my aunt gave me a tiny little egg shaped container that held a sweet little surprise inside! As I opened the top,
inside sat the tiniest little plant - almost unbelievably tiny! The plant had lots of velvety green leaves, piles of little white slipper
shaped blossoms, and even a bit of moss covering the soil. The most amazing thing about this gift was, from leaf tip to leaf tip,
this little potted gem was only 1 1/2 inches across! This was the beginning of my love for miniature houseplants.
Introducing the - Micro Mini Sinningia
The micro-mini sinningia is known to be one of the smallest, flowering houseplants in the world. As a full grown plant, they range
from 1 1/2 - 2 inches across. The foliage is medium to dark green, and the flower
colors range from white to dark purple. Some of the flower petals from the different
hybrids have speckles, and in some cases, ruffled edges.
The plant starts out as a small tuber, much like the spring bulbs that you would plant
outside in your garden.
How to Plant a Micro Mini Sinningia
Because the plants are so small, I buy the small pots called "thumb pots" to plant them in. They are approx. 1 1/2 inches
across the top.
Fill the pot with soil. Any soil mix that you would use for an African violet will work just fine, although I like to make a very "light"
mix by adding a bit of peat moss, perlite, or vermiculite. It is very important not to have "heavy" soil, because a lack of drainage
will cause water retention, which will cause the small tubers to rot.
Even without direct lighting, the plant will grow nice and green. However, if you want the piles of blooms that these little beauties
are able to produce, you'll want to make sure that they get plenty of light. You could also grow them under fluorescent tubes for
a nice result.
Because of the small pot size, and small amount of soil, your plants will need to be grown in a "humid" setting to keep them from
drying out to quickly. This result can be achieved by placing the plant in a terrarium, or other small container. As you can see by
my picture, I like to use empty soda bottles (cheap & easy :). Simply cut out the middle section of the plastic bottle, and insert
the top portion into the lower portion. You can keep the cap on, but open it now & then if you see to much moisture building up
on the inside of the bottle.
Water when needed - and never let the plants dry out. You could add a liquid fertilizer to your water by following the instructions
for any African violet liquid fertilizer (usually a 12-36-14 mixture).
There's one thing better than having 1 micro mini sinningia... having lots of sinningias!
There are 3 different ways to propagate new plants
1. Grow them from seed. Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of moist soil in a terrarium. You can mist the seeds periodically to help
them germinate. The small seedlings can then be replanted into their own pots, or grown together in the small terrarium. To get your
plants to produce seeds, use a small brush to pollinate each flower by gently rubbing around the inside of each flower. If the flower
has been pollinated, you will see the "bud" portion of the flower start to swell as it matures. Leave it on the plant until it starts to turn
brown, then carefully remove it and keep in a small container (not air tight as this will cause them to rot if they are not thoroughly dried).
2. Gently remove the whole plant from the tuber. When you look at the plant, the base will look like a thin stem. Simply cut this
stem (or gently pick it off of the tuber with your hand), and place it into a new pot. Bend a small 1 inch section of wire in half, and use
as a pin to hold the plant down in the soil. After several weeks, this "parent plant" will grow a brand new tuber. You could continue
doing this over & over!
* Each tuber will produce several "plantlets" at a time, so I like to remove each plantlet & plant it in it's own pot.
3. Leave the tuber from step #2 in the soil, and let it grow another plant! The tubers also multiply under the soil, so after a year or so,
you may want to repot your plants & look for new tubers to plant!
Because these plants go through resting phases, it is perfectly normal for the plant to die
back & rest for a few months. If your plant dies back, throw the dead plant away, but store
the tuber in a cool dry place and wait for it to sprout again. They will usually sprout again
within a month or so. Although this process is perfectly normal, I don't find that this is
always the case. Most of my plants continue growing all year long.
You will be very surprised at how fast these little plants seem to grow & bloom. I hope you
fall in love with them as much as I have!