Achimenes: Greenhouse Plants

With flowers in shades of pink, purple, scarlet and white, achimenes is an excellent plant for hanging baskets although it is more often seen as a pot plant. Its common name is Hot Water Plant because it is supposed to benefit from being watered with hot water. In fact, this is not true and watering can be done in the same way as for any other plant.

The Growth Cycle

The small scaly tubers are started into growth in early spring by pressing them into moist peat and sand in pots or boxes which are then provided with a temperature of 13 to 16°C. (55 to 60°F.). New shoots soon develop and the young plants can then be moved to 5- or 6-in. pots, spacing them 2 to 3 in. apart in the compost. John Innes No. 1 Potting Compost is recommended for the purpose.

Hanging Baskets

When making up hanging baskets the small plants can be planted on the top and also pushed gently through the sides of the basket so that eventually the latter will be completely hidden. Watering and

Feeding

Water sparingly at first but as growth develops it should be increased. As the roots begin to fill the pots, feed every 10 days with a soluble fertiliser added to the water supply.

Staking

The stems tend to be straggly, and will need supporting. This can be done with a few twiggy sticks inserted around the edge of the pot.

Shading

Light shade should be given from strong sunshine, and to avoid a dry atmosphere when the weather is hot the floors and staging should be damped down frequently.

Resting

The foliage will show signs of withering in early autumn and at this stage less water should be given until the soil is quite dry. The tubers can remain in the pots and be left in a dry. Frost-proof place until repotting time comes round again between February and April and the growth cycle is repeated.

Propagation

These plants can be increased in various ways: by seed sown in March in a temperature of 18 to 21°C. (65 to 70°F.). to provide flowering plants in the second year; by cuttings rooted in spring in a warm propagating frame; and by scales removed from the tubers and raised like seeds.

Varieties

Of the named varieties that are available I prefer Pink Beauty.

01. March 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, Greenhouse Gardening, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Achimenes: Greenhouse Plants

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