ACHIMENES HYBRIDA Hot water plant
Achimenes make a pretty flowering display throughout summer and are available in a whole host of colours.
These plants grow from a rhizome, which resembles a small brown caterpillar, and are ready to bring into growth from the beginning of March. Ready-grown plants are usually available from late spring or early summer.
If starting from rhizomes plant these about 2.5cm deep, placing 3 in a 10cm pot. Place the pot in a warm spot with good light and keep the compost moist using tepid water. The growth is quite thin and wiry and most varieties will require some sort of support. I use plastic cage-style supports for my plants, which clip onto the pot. This allows the foliage to grow upright through the support. Alternatively allow the plants to trail in a hanging basket.
As the year progresses you will need to move the pots out of direct sunlight. I have found that Achimenes thrive very nicely alongside my Streptocarpus in the dappled light of a shaded conservatory.
At the end of the year the plants will gradually start to die down and watering should cease all together when this happens. The rhizomes can then be stored in a frost-free location over winter. Mine are just left dry in their pots until March when they are split up and re-potted. The rhizomes will have multiplied so you can end up with quite a large collection. Resume normal watering at this stage and regularly pinch out the growing tips of young plants to encourage bushiness. Ensure your plants are kept well watered during their growing season but also make sure they are draining freely. Plants left stood in water for any length of time will soon look a very sorry sight.
New varieties of Achimenes seem to appear every year so there is always plenty of choice with this one.