Learn about Achimenes
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.
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.
A Ambroise Verschaffelt was one of the earliest hybrids and is a great variety with purplish-blue markings on white flowers
A Himalaya Double this is a relatively new variety and has superb deep red double flowers.
A Cattleya this is a prolific flowering variety with light blue flowers that will provide a continuous pot of colour for a number of weeks.
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.
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.
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).
Use good quality houseplant compost and ensure that the soil does not dry out as that may instigate them into dormancy.