Growing Tips for Achimenes
There are a lot of things that are unique about Achimenes flowers, including the shape and appearance of the bulb itself, along with the interesting but gorgeous shape of the flower, which looks something like the end of a trumpet.
Achimenes are extremely temperamental, and consequently, aren't the best for placing in an outdoor garden. It can be done, but if it was me, I would maybe do it as an experiment, rather than be the main way I try to grow the flower.
Interestingly, these are also a near relative to the also potentially temperamental African violet, maybe giving us a hint as to why they need such tender loving care.
There are a wide variety of colors produced by this amazing flower, one for just about anyone's tastes. And there are many that have multiple colors to add to the mix.
Planting a Shade Garden
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Unique Achimenes Bulbs
As you can see in the side photo, the bulb of an achimenes is tremendously different than the type of bulb most of us are used to handling.
You would think you just picked up a pine cone rather than a flower bulb, if you didn't know better.
Those who haven't grown achimenes sometimes balk when they see the bulb shape and texture. But don't be concerned about that, as they grow into magnificent flowers, as you'll see below.
Preparing Pot and Mix
When choosing a pot for an achimenes bulb, be sure to use one that has plenty of drainage, as achimenes bulbs are highly susceptible to rot, and can't lie in overly wet soil.
As for the mix to be used, just about any type of commercial mix made for potting should work well.
Again, before you put your bulbs in, be sure the soil mix is adequately drained.
Planting Bulbs in Pots
Now that your mix is ready, it's time to plant your unique bulbs.
All you do here is dig little holes in the soil mix at about an inch to an inch and a half deep. Space the holes about 3 inches to 4 inches apart.
Take the bulbs and simply push them into the holes from either side. With achimenes it doesn't matter which end of the bulb is up or down, they grow either way.
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Watering After Planting
As long as you have good drainage, at this point you can give your plants a good dose of water, helping the soil to fill in around the bulbs.
From there be sure the soil is kept just a little moist. It will take about 2 to 4 weeks for the first sprouts to appear. After that they will grow very fast, with flowering beginning not soon afterwards.
Achimenes are known for blooming very quickly, and so you shouldn't have too long to wait to start to enjoy the fruit of your labor.
When the plant is actively growing, water will continue to be needed. Just as you did in the early stages, don't overly water the soil, but rather be sure it is just a little moist.
On the other hand, you also have to be sure you don't allow this slightly finicky plant to dry out either, as it'll want to start to move into dormancy. That will stop the plant from blooming for the rest of the season.
All you have to be sure this doesn't happen is to keep it lightly watered at all times when the plant is growing and blooming.
Fertilize the plants at half strength, using a fertilizer mixed with water. That will keep your plant blooming nicely till the end of the season.
Placing Potted Plants Outdoors
If you decide to place the potted plants outside, even there you must be careful they are in a protected area.
It would be better to try one or two to see how they work in certain areas outside before you commit too many to that endeavor. Assuming you have only a few plants, you may want to hold off on experimenting until you have enough of them so that you don't mind losing a few if it comes down to that.
Achimenes in the Fall
The way to identify when an achimenes is going dormant is when you see the leaves of the plant start to yellow and die.
At that time it's fine to remove the foliage before you place the plant in storage. Several months from then they'll be ready to grow again.
If you live in an area colder than zone 10, and want to keep your bulbs for the following year, simply remove the bulbs and store them in peat moss that has only a little moisture added to it.
As you can see, achimenes aren't that difficult to grow when you focus on them being a potted plant rather than planting them outside.
They can give you many day of pleasure and enjoyment if you follow the simple tips mentioned above.
When you look at these amazingly interesting flowers, it's definitely worth the time and effort to have them part of your indoor garden.
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