The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Xela's Garden

Achimenes

Planted Apr '13 Vistabile dining room ['Little Beauty']
Bought Apr '13 @ Harrogate Spring Flower Show for 60p a pkt of 6 rhizomes

Achimenes are very attractive pot plants, free flowering and are relatively easy to grow. They originate from Central and South America and in the right conditions are fast growing, producing slender stems which host an abundance of colour. They flourish best preferring a constant supply of warmth; good light levels and air circulation (not exposed to cold draughts). Place on windowsills or in a conservatory out of direct sunlight.

Recommended varieties
Besides the old favourites, new varieties have burst on to the scene in the past 15 years. Some of our most popular varieties are shown below although you will of course find a larger selection on the website.

Ambroise Verschaffelt was one of the earliest hybrids and is a great variety with purplish-blue markings on white flowers
Himalaya Double this is a relatively new variety and has superb deep red double flowers.
Cattleya this is a prolific flowering variety with light blue flowers that will provide a continuous pot of colour for a number of weeks.

Cultivation
Rhizomes are available to plant from late January through to April. Plant the rhizomes in pots, laid flat on the surface (many varieties are 1-3cms in length). The best compost to use would be house plant or seed compost which should be kept moist but not over watered. Plant the rhizomes 1-2cms deep and with up to 5 rhizomes in a 13cm pot, smaller pots can of course be used when planting 1-3 rhizomes.

Flowering
If the achimenes are kept in an excessively warm environment (above 20 C ) they can grow very leggy. To encourage dense growth the growing tips can be pinched out when they are about 4cms tall. The taller varieties may need supporting as they grow to prevent them falling over. Feed every two to three weeks when growing with a liquid fertiliser. When watering/feeding ensure that the water is applied directly to the compost so that it soaks in for the rhizomes to uptake.

Over wintering
Reduce watering once the achimenes have ceased flowering and then leave to dry out. Once the stems have died back they can be cut off close to the base. At this point the rhizomes can either be left in the pot over winter or removed from the pot and stored in a cool dry, well ventilated place in vermiculite (or similar).

Tips
Use good quality houseplant compost and ensure that the soil does not dry out as that may instigate them into dormancy.
[Source: http://www.directbulbs.co.uk/learn_about_achimenes.asp ]

"Achimenes—Growing Cupid's Bow Flowers"

The Achimenes features beautiful flowers in a variety of colors that bloom from spring through late summer.
Achimenes are a delightful relative of the African violet. They grow from small underground rhizomes that sprout in the late winter/early spring and eventually explode in a variety of lush blooms. Today, breeders have worked extensively with the plant to create wonderful blossom colors, including white, pink and purple. These are warm-sill plants that dislike direct sunlight, but crave warm and moist homes. After the bloom is done in the late summer, the plant will begin to die back and you can overwinter the rhizome in dry peat moss until it's ready to be planted in fresh soil again near the end of the winter and the cycle starts over again. Some varieties make excellent hanging plants.
Growing Conditions:
Light: Achimenes prefer bright, but not direct sunlight. Strong sunlight will burn their leaves.
Water: Begin watering the freshly planted rhizomes in late winter until new sprouts emerge. After that, and throughout the growing season, keep the soil continuously moist as the plant grows. When it begins to die back in the fall, reduce watering until it's died completely, then suspend watering and keep the rhizome in a cool, dry place.
Soil: A rich, fast-draining potting mix is ideal.
Fertilizer: During the growing season, fertilize every week with a weak liquid fertilizer. It also works to include controlled-release fertilizer pellets in the soil.
Propagation:
There are two ways to propagate Achimenes. First, you can root stem-tip cuttings in the early spring, when the plant has gained enough mass that it won't miss a few cuttings. Use a rooting hormone and keep them in a warm, bright place until they begin to grow. The second method is by rhizome division, which is usually carried out in the winter, just before you begin to feed and water the plant again. Divide larger rhizomes in half.
Repotting:
Every spring, the rhizome should be planted in a fresh pot of potting soil. They prefer a nonalkaline soil, so a peat-based mixture (which tends to be slightly acidic) is perfect. At the end of the growing season, remove the plant from its old pot and place the old rhizome in a fresh bag of dry potting mix. Keep it at around 50˚F for the remainder of the winter until it's time to pot it out again.
Varieties:
The vast majority of the Achimenes on the market today are carefully hybridized plants that were bred for the color of their blooms. There are both cascading and upright versions, so make sure the one you're buying fits your needs. Some of the more popular Achimenes varietals include:

Ambroise Verschaffelt, which is white with violet petal veins.
Charm, which features pink flowers.
Blue Monarch, which has blue flowers.

There are also a few species variations available, including the A. erecta, which stays under two feet and grows upright with red blooms; A. grandiflora, which grows to two feet with purplish flowers; and A. longiflora, a compact specimen that stays about a foot tall.
Grower's Tips:
There are not difficult plants to grow and offer beautiful, seasonal blooms. To encourage bushy plants with more blooms, pinch off the growing tips as the plant grows in the springtime—you'll be rewarded with richer displays of blooms. Fertilization is important for these plants: use a high-phosphorous fertilizer to get the best results and feed continuously throughout the season in small doses. When it comes time to pot up the year's rhizomes, make sure to discard any rhizomes that have dried out or become shriveled. These are unlikely to sprout and will only disappoint. Finally, be aware that these plants are vulnerable to aphids and thrips.
[Source: http://houseplants.about.com/od/Still_More_Plant_Profiles/p/Achimenes-Growing-Cupids-Bow-Flowers.htm ]

Photos of this plant

Reminders for this plant

Due about 11 years ago:

Feed

During the growing season, fertilize every week with a weak liquid fertilizer. It also works to include controlled-release fertilizer pellets in the soil.

Due over 10 years ago:

Overwinter

When it begins to die back in the fall, reduce watering until it's died completely, then suspend watering and keep the rhizome in a cool, dry place.

Plant

plant in a fresh pot of potting soil late Jan - April

Water

throughout the growing season, keep the soil continuously moist as the plant grows.

Due about 10 years ago:

Pinch

encourage bushy plants with more blooms, pinch off the growing tips as the plant grows in the springtime—you'll be rewarded with richer displays of blooms.

Due over 4 years ago:

When it begins to die back in the fall, reduce watering until it's died completely, then suspend watering and keep the rhizome in a cool, dry place.