Growing Achimenes Indoors
Growing Achimenes in containers is a perfect way to enjoy this very tender bulb for northern gardeners. This member of the African Violet family is really a rhizome rather than a bulb but who's keeping track of the botanic nature of great flowers?
This native to Mexico, Achimenes longiflora and its hybrids are the most commonly grown in pots.
This plant prefers a bright sunlight but not hot afternoon light in an outdoor garden. Indoors, give it all the light you can but if in a bright southern window you might want to back it away from the window a bit so the light intensity is reduced a bit during the summer months.
Achimenes love a moist rich soil (although well drained is essential so do not let it sit in water). Use a good quality potting soil and keep damp. Note that keeping damp means allowing the pot to just dry down between waterings, it does not mean keeping the soil swampy.
Plant the rhizomes about one half inch deep in a pot of soil and approximately 2 plants per inch of pot diameter. This means a 6-inch pot can take 3 rhizomes.
Start the rhizomes from February to May to create successive blooming pots. They will bloom in late summer or early fall from a February planting.
After blooming has finished, reduce water and begin drying the soil between waterings to force the rhizome into dormancy. Take at least a month to do this (not in a week).
Once the rhizomes are dormant, they can be lifted from the pot and if you fed them weekly during the growing season, you'll be able to divide them to produce more plants.
Growing Achimenes in pots is a great way to lengthen the time you have summer and fall containers in full bloom.
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Achimenes 'Paul Arnold'
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