Achimenes or Hot Water Plant For Charming Summer Blooms

Achimenes is a fairly easy bulb to grow (even if it is a small one).  Sometimes called “hot water plant” or “widow's tears” it originally came to us from Central South America.  Note that all the plants you're likely to see are hybrids and that they have been bred to produce scads of flowers.  It is tough to go wrong with this plant in the front of the garden or in containers.

Where to Grow

This bulb prefers a location where it gets shade for approximately one-third of the day (high 50% - low 25%).  Full sun will burn it and shorten the bloom time so it is a perfect small bulb (only 10-inches tall) for growing under shrubs.

Achimenes 'Paul Arnold'

Achimenes 'Paul Arnold'

How Deep To Plant

Plant the base of the bulb about 1-inch deep and plant bulbs 3-inches apart for a good massed flower effect. 

This is the same for ground or pot culture.

Achimenes 'Prima Donna'

Achimenes 'Prima Donna'

The Flowers Are:

The flowers come in a wide variety of colors (mostly sold as a mix) and you'll find blues, pinks, oranges, peach, reds, white, purple and yellow blooms in late June through late-summer depending on planting date.

Achimenes is an easy plant to grow. Nearly all the Achimenes offered are hybrids. These modern varieties produce masses of short trumpet-shaped flowers and shiny, velvety leaves. 

Special Considerations

If there is a trick to this bulb it is that it likes being warm and cool weather will slow it down. 

The second thing to note is that it resents being dried out.  If you're growing achimenes in a container, keep it regularly moist.  Stop watering though when the blooms are done to harden it off and let it go dormant. 

Winter Storage

Store warm (65-70F) and dry for the winter. 

In fact, if you're container growing just leave the plant in the container (keep the container in the house at the above temperature) and don't water it over the winter.

Varieties To Look For

While you'll mostly find color mixes, occasionally you'll be able order specific colors:

Blue Sparks' - blue
'Harry Williams' - red
'Prima Donna' - pink
'Snow Princess' - white

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