By Heather Rhoades
Native to Western China and Tibet, the Chinese trumpet flower is an elegant and exotic beauty. Like most flowers, it is known by many names – Incarvillea, hardy gloxinia, the Chinese bell flower and, of course, the Chinese trumpet flower.
About Chinese Trumpet Flowers
Trumpet shaped flowers up to 3″ bloom in clusters that cover this lovely bush-like plant. The most common varieties of the growing hardy gloxinia plants have pink or purple flowers with yellow throats and dark green foliage. Unlike most other plants, the Chinese trumpet flower commonly blooms before the leaves have even appeared.
Named after 18th century Jesuit priest Pierre d’Incarville, the Chinese trumpet flower is truly a beauty that will brighten up any garden. Popular cultivars include:
- Incarvillea arguta
- Incarvillea forrestii
- Incarvillea zhongdianensis
- Incarvillea delavayi
- Incarvillea olgae
- Incarvillea mairei
- Incarvillea grandiflora
- Incarvillea variabilis
Growing Hardy Gloxinia Plants
The Chinese trumpet flower is a nice addition to a rock garden or border and also grows well in containers. Best grown in deep, sandy soil, this hardy perennial blooms and grows in clumps from mid-spring to mid-summer.
The plant usually grows to a height of about 18″ and is hardy in zones 5-9. Spring is the best time for planting gloxinia tubers, and full sun to partial shade is preferred. Chinese trumpet flowers should be planted 3″ deep and 12″-15″ apart. Soil should be neutral, moderately rich, and well drained.
Care of a Gloxinia Plant
A little care can go a long way with Chinese trumpet flowers. Dead flowers should be consistently pulled off to lengthen the blooming period. And, although it may be tempting to propagate something so beautiful, they will flourish if left undisturbed.