There are more than 50 hybrid varieties of achimenes, which are more frequently grown than the species. They are among the most colorful and floriferous pot plants, producing abundant white, pink, purple, blue, or yellow flowers throughout the summer.
These appear on short stalks from the leaf axils and comprise a narrow tube flaring out into five broad lobes.
Each flower lasts only a few days, but the flowering period is extensive. Leaves are generally rich to dark green, slightly hairy, heart-shaped, and with toothed edges. Because achimenes have weak stems, they are ideal for a hanging basket where they can trail.
All achimenes grow from small, caterpillarlike rhizomes, which can be started into growth by dipping them in hot water before planting them, hence the unromantic common name of hot-water plant.
Direct sunlight over a long period may scorch the tender leaves, causing small brown spots to appear.
Dormant tubers will survive the winter in any cool, dry place, but exposure to frost will kill them.
Do not water the plants during the dormant period. That would start them into growth at the wrong time.
Aphids occasionally attack the fleshy growth at the growing tips.
ORIGIN Guatemala; hybrids.
HEIGHT To 12in/30cm.
POTTING MIX Peat-moss- or soil-based.
REPOTTING In early spring, set 3-4 tubers horizontally, V2in/13mm below the surface of the potting mix in a 4-in/10-cm pot at a minimum of 50°F/10°C.
PROPAGATION Divide tubers when repotting or take 3-in/8-cm tip cuttings in early summer.
KEEPING PLANTS If allowed to dry out, even briefly, the plant will return to dormancy. But do not let flowering plants stand in water, or the root system will quickly start to rot.
Achimenes Gesneriaceae PLANT CARE Tips Guides
- Bright indirect sunlight.
- An average temperature of 65°F/18°C in the growing season; the plants will droop above 80°F/27“C.
- Water freely, particularly when the plant is in flower.
- Apply a high-potash liquid feed every 2 weeks in the flowering season.