Bolivian Sunset gloxinia makes a dazzling
groundcover or container plant for filtered light
areas of the home or landscape.
groundcovers that bloom are much sought after in the
gardening world, and Bolivian Sunset holds one of the
most beautiful opportunities. The name itself conjures
up visions of exotic colors.
Sunset is known botanically as Seemannia sylvatica and
indeed is native to Bolivia and Peru. It also has
another common name and that is hardy gloxinia.
is cold hardy from zones 8 and higher though everyone
can enjoy it as a containerized plant to be enjoyed on
the porch patio or deck and likewise indoors. The caveat
to all of that would be a desirable shady to filtered
would have told you that in Savannah, Ga., it seems to
always be in bloom but alas a journey through all of my
photos shows that I have always photographed it starting
in September. Now, in mid to late October, it appears to
be in full glory.
a spreading groundcover in Savannah, ours has spread
outward forming a clump about 8 feet wide and deep. The
plants themselves reach 12 to 18 inches tall and I would
like it even if it never bloomed.
leaves are lance-shaped, leathery to the touch and
semi-glossy. So in a world of typical green leaves, the
texture is much welcome in the garden. The flowers,
however, are dazzling.
tubular blossoms are a fiery orange-red with a yellow
throat. They are produced in abundance on the
multi-stemmed little groundcover. The blooming commences
in the fall, late August to September in Savannah and
will last until spring if not caught by frost. This is
one reason why the plant is much sought after as a house
the landscape it may die back in zone 8 depending on the
winter and then quickly grow back. It spreads by
underground rhizomes, which makes me think it may have
opportunities in protected areas of zone 7.
you find yours, select a site with fertile organic rich
soil that drains well. Ours is growing in next to an old
1920 home that, though sandy, has had lots of organic
amendments over the decades. But remember the light
requirements of morning sun afternoon shade or high
grown in containers, you’ll notice it quickly fills
the pot with leaves, blooms and a very rhizomatous root
system that seems to have devoured your lush potting
medium. This means as you choose to repot you can make
more plants to give away or use in other locations.
the landscape it would partner extremely well with
hostas and ferns for an absolutely lush and dreamy
forest floor. We are growing ours in close proximity to
shampoo gingers, Zingiber zerumbet and Emperor hidden
gingers for a tropical look.
you might expect with the tubular flowers, it can bring
in hummingbirds if they are still active in your area
when they begin blooming. Hanging baskets or containers
that are off the ground are more suitable. Here at the
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, small bees and
sulphur butterflies seem to be the most frequent
many groundcovers are as pretty as Bolivian Sunset
gloxinia. I hope you’ll give it a try in your
landscape or in a container that will beautify your