November 4, 2007
A line-up of Achimenes showing the variety and diversity between various species and named varietites available.
Isn't it funny how even though one may be obsessive about collecting so many plants, there are still species out there that one can discover? Although not "new" to me, since I remember seeing these African Violet relatives in the old 1960's Park seed company catalogs, often listed as Hot Water Plants (?), I never mustered up courage to try them.
Achimenes blossoms in an egg cup.
I suppose, they just seemed a little too unrealistic, I mean, come-on...."they'll cover themselves with flowers, and bloom till frost?"Rrrright. In those early years, as a kid, I preferred to invest in breeding the first white marigold!
Achimenes 'Rose Dream'
So, here I am, in my late forties, and finally growing these 'Achimenes'. Perhaps it is best that I waited. There surely is an argument for saving more challenging plants to try, until one is matured. Hence, why most plant geeks mature-out with Alpines, or Gesneriads. Just as others begin with Hosta or Daylillies. There must be some demographic studies out there.
Achimenes display in the autumn greenhouse.
Achimenes 'Tiny Blue'
(it's tiny, and blue)
Not that Achimenes are difficult, although, they really don't 'cover themselves with blossoms, either". That said, they are easy enough to grow, and perhaps perfect for a covered porch or protected spot in the garden. I ordered my rhizome in April from Kartuz Greenhouses, one must order them in early spring, while they are dormant. Shipping exists from February for those in the south, through to April in the north.
On arrival, my 35 varieties and species all packaged neatly in paper bags with shavings, looked like tiny white maggots. Each rhizomes was planted in a 4" pot, and watered well.
Achimenes 'Queen of Sheba'
Achimenes 'Summer Sunset'
an novelty cross, very species-like in habit, it's exciting to breeders because it is a yellow and red color, but weak and virtually unknowticable.
Easy enough to grow, the only hint I was given my friends, was to never let them dry out, or they risk going dormant again. Still, since these are fuzzy leaved African violet relatives, I knew that I needed to be careful about water on the foliage. Although they can be grown outside, where of course, water will fall on the foliage, it will also air-dry off quickly. For me, I decided to keep them in the greenhouse, since although the water risked marking the foliage in the still atmosphere, I could at least travel, and know that they we're under shade cloth and watered well. The cost of a few marked leaves, was worth the flowers.
Achimenes 'Jennier Goode'
Nice. A better name would be Jennier Best!
This is my first year really exploring gesneriads, all of the African violet relatives, and although not hooked yet, I have to admit that these Achimenes we're the least exciting of the lot, so far. Most of the summer growing Gesneriads reach a peak bloom around autumn, and so it is with the Achimenes. Still, they are easy enough for me to dry off the pots , as I am now, for the winter, and perhaps when I repot and water them for a new season of bloom, the show might be better. For that, I shall wait until next year, refocusing my Gesneriad addiction to Streptocarpus leaves on eBay.
Achimenes 'Cornell Favorite'
Although, not mine. Nice foliage though.
A rare yellow species, it's a species, so I like this. But friends may call it a weed. A novelty, but nice to balance the context of a collection.
A nice pot of early blooming white form, with a lost tag.
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