Achimenes Planting Guide
If you haven't grown achimenes before you may be a bit surprised by the appearance of the bulbs. Looking somewhat like small, closed-scale pinecones, these bulbs bear no resemblance to traditional round or onion-shaped bulbs. But don't worry, everything is as it should be for these African violet relatives. Not convinced? Well, we'll ask you to trust us on this one. After all, if external appearances were always true indicators would you ever considering putting a brown, furry kiwi in your mouth?
Achimenes are good choices for indoor growing conditions and for protected outdoor containers and baskets. These relatives of African violets need gentler conditions than are often available in exposed outdoor settings. For this reason we recommend growing achimenes indoors or in sheltered outdoor sites rather than in garden beds.Planters, Pots, Tubs, Urns and Windowboxes
- Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; achimene bulbs must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot.
- Site your containers where they will receive light to moderate shade or dappled sun. Full sun will burn the plants.
- Dig little holes and plant the bulbs 1"-1.5" deep and 3"-4" apart. Just poke them down in the soil and don't worry about which side is up. They'll grow from any position.
- After planting, water well, thoroughly soaking the soil to settle it around the bulbs. Keep soil lightly moist and sprouts will appear in two to four weeks. Plants will grow quickly and begin flowering at a young age.
- Water as needed during active growth periods, keeping soil lightly moist but not wet. If the soil is allowed to dry out this will encourage the plants to slip into dormancy and they will finish blooming for the season. Half strength fertilizer added to the water will keep plants blooming strongly throughout the summer and early fall.
- In the autumn the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. Your achimenes will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
- If you garden in a location cooler than zone 10 and want to save your bulbs for next season, lift the achimene bulbs and store them indoors in very slightly moist peat moss. Or just replace them next spring for another year of cascading blooms.