Achimenes

Common name: Hot Water Plants

Achimenes, a gesneriaceae,originate from Central and South America and is related to African Violets and Gloxinias.

Like the latter they are mainly grown as summer-flowering house or greenhouse plants.

The common name; Hot Water Plants is thought to be derived from the idea that if the entire pot was plunged into hot water, (not boiling), this would promote flowering.

Plants generally have a prostrate growth habit topped off with a profusion of 25-75mm (1”-3”) diameter funnel-shaped flowers that resemble pansies or petunias.

The flowers that bloom from late spring into autumn, come in a wide range of colours, colours such as:White, Yellow, Scarlet, Salmon, Pink, Blue, Lavender, and purple.

They prefer daytime temperatures of around 24°C (75º F) and night temperatures of 16°-21°C (60º-70º F) and should never be allowed to go below 10°C (50º F).

Idealy grow them in indirect light and or sunlit conditions that is humid and draughtproof.

The pots should contain well drained, humus rich potting compost that should be kept moist but not water-logged at all times.

Allow the compost to dry out slightly between waterings, and provide a high-potash feed fortnightly to keep plants flowering during the growing season.

Pinch out tips as necessary to induce bushy habit.

Keep a watchful eye open for signs of aphids and Red Spider mites and treat accordingly.

When the flowers begin to fade, reduce watering, and this will cause the plants to go dormant and begin to form tubers.

Once the leaves have fallen, the fragile tubers can be gathered and saved for replanting the following season.

Store the tubers at around 10°-21°C (50º- 70º F) in boxes/pots sphagnum moss, or vermiculite.

Alternatively, leave them in their existing pots and store at around 10°-21°C (50º- 70º F) for dividing the following season.

Cultural notes:

Week 6: Sow seeds in a fine well drained seed compost and grow on at a temperature of around 21°-24°C (70°-75º F)

Week 11: Re-pot up the tubers in pots of well-drained, humus-rich potting compost, and start into growth in a heated propagator or warm room indoors.

Increase stock by removing the root ball from the pot, then tease out the tubercles (these resemble small white fleshy catkins) and divide the plants

Space out tubers, say 6 to a 150mm (6”) pot and cover with 25mm (1”) of compost.

Maintain a minimum temperature of 16°C (60°F) and water cautiously until growth gets underway.

Week 27: Take tip cuttings of young shoots if required.





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