S. speciosa ‘Lavender Queen’ is a fine plant that thrives in light-garden culture. It is one of several forms of this species that occur naturally in South America. ‘Lavender Queen’ has a beautiful warm lavender color, often with a clear yellow stripe in the white throat. The corolla tube has an interesting ridge along the top. There is some variation in plants grown from seed. Another photo of the cultivar can be seen here, and one that is so different it is likely not ‘Lavender Queen’ here.
Although I find the plant easy to bloom, the leaves are somewhat difficult to keep in good condition, except under conditions of fairly high humidity. Nonetheless, it is worth the extra trouble, and even if there is some leaf browning, the plant seems to stay otherwise healthy.
This species, recently rediscovered, is believed to be the ancestor of the modern “Florist Gloxinia”. Its leaves are quite similar to those of modern cultivars, although the flower is very different in the newer, widely distributed, hybrids. Other forms of the species can be seen here, here and here.
The orchid in the background is a Phalaenopsis hybrid, a genus which does well under the same conditions as many of the gesneriads (although culture, especially watering and fertilizing, is completely different).