Achimenes is a popular indoor flower among gardeners, serving as a worthy addition to collections of unpretentious exotics that delight with a riot of colors and flowering time. Care and cultivation of achimens is not particularly difficult, but still includes a number of key points.
Ahimenes in nature and culture
In nature, exotics grow in the tropical forests of South and Central America. It belongs to the Gesneriaceae family and is a close relative of Saintpaulias, streptocarpus and violets, which are popular among flower growers. As a cultivated plant, achimenes began to be grown in the 18th century. Today they adorn many gardens, greenhouses and home flower beds.
The beauty of flowering wild “brothers” achimenes can be observed all year round. At home, with proper care, the period of riot of colors lasts only up to six months, giving way to a state of rest.
These beautifully flowering perennials come in many cultivars that differ in foliage shape, flower size and color. But all of them are united by one thing – long creeping stems that effectively hang from the walls of the container, forming an openwork vertical carpet. Achimenes are famous for their abundant and lush flowering, which is replete with a wide palette of color shades.
Achimenes belong to the number of heat-loving plants. This is also indicated by the name of the culture, which, when translated literally, means “Achimenes” = “a” (no) + “chimenes” (cold).
Today, several varieties of achimenes are distinguished in culture, on the basis of which dozens of varieties have been bred. The most popular among them are described below:
- Long-flowered – plants up to 30 cm high. Ampelous stems adorn slightly elongated pubescent leaves of light green color. Large flowers are located singly in the axils of the leaves.
- Large-flowered – bushes up to 60 cm high. Erect stems adorn large elongated leaves. Purple-red flowers are arranged in pairs in the leaf axils.
- Hybrid – forms created by crossing several species. Ampelous or erect stems adorn pointed pubescent leaves with serrated edges. They are famous for their original colors of flowers, pleasing with abundant flowering.
Plants can have both regular and double flower shape. The color palette of shades is wide. It covers all shades, from light ones such as white, yellow, pink, coral, lilac, blue, to dark ones such as purple and aqua.
A brief description of the most popular varieties of achimenes:
- Blue Star – bushes with erect stems, decorated with large flowers with purple-blue corollas. Petals have an interesting coloring in the form of applied strokes.
- Peach Cascade – bushes with erect slightly drooping shoots are decorated with spectacular peach-orange flowers with a yellow spot in the central point.
- Serge Saliba – bushes with erect stems, decorated with “stars” of two-color colors with a yellow core and pinkish edges.
- Glory – compact ampelous plants, pleasing with abundant flowering of spectacular flowers with a yellow core and scarlet petals.
- Double Pink Rose – lushly flowering shrubs with semi-double flowers of a pale pink hue, vaguely reminiscent of half-opened rosebuds in shape.
- Purple King – bushes with erect stems, decorated with large lilac flowers with yellow maroon necks. Long-flowering variety pleases the eye from early spring to late autumn.
- Sauline are erect-stemmed plants crowned with small flowers with scalloped edges in the original lemon-purple color. Depending on the growing conditions, the color tone can change from yellow to pink.
- Lavender Fancy – ampelous plants with burgundy stems and light green foliage, decorated with simple flowers of striped creamy brown colors.
- Peach Blossom – ampelous bushes. They are distinguished by spectacular foliage, the upper part of which has a dark green tint, and the lower part is burgundy. The flowers of the plant also include two shades: the center is decorated with a purple “eye”, the edges are pale pink.
How to grow at home
The guarantee of the beauty and duration of flowering of achimenes is good plant care. Subject to simple maintenance rules, the flowering of the bush can be extended up to 6 months.
Ahimenes is not particularly demanding in care. It grows best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. To obtain the desired composition, two parts of leafy soil are mixed with one part of peat and sand.
Ahimeneses are heat-loving plants. They feel most comfortable on windows facing south. During flowering, exotics are vulnerable to direct sunlight. With abundant light, their buds become brown, the colors become less bright and saturated. During this period, it is better to rearrange them in a place with diffused light.
At the same time, shaded areas should be avoided. The fact that the exotic is not enough sunlight will be indicated by stretching bare stems and chopped foliage.
Important point! You can determine how sun-loving a plant is visually: bushes with dark foliage need more light than with delicate greens.
One of the key conditions for the successful cultivation of achimenes at home is compliance with the temperature regime. During the period of active growth and flowering, the optimum temperature for exotics is 22-24°C. In the hot months, when the ambient temperature at night drops to + 20 ° C, the bush can be safely left on an open balcony or veranda.
During the dormant period, the temperature threshold can be lowered to + 18 ° . Preparing the plant for wintering, lowering the temperature should be carried out gradually. This will allow the roots of the plant to gain the necessary substances before “hibernation”, thereby minimizing stress.
Air humidity and watering
Heat-loving exotic needs regular watering. For this purpose, water at room temperature, previously settled for a day, is used. The tender plant instantly reacts to cold water by the manifestation of brown spots on the leaves.
Watering is carried out only during the period of “wakefulness” of the bush, accompanied by active growth and flowering. The plant is watered as the earthen coma dries up. During the dormant period, the flower is not watered at all.
Important point! It is necessary to water strictly under the root of the bush, minimizing the risk of moisture getting on the leaves and flowers.
Ahimenes is a tropical plant by nature. He feels most comfortable when the air humidity is within 60%. For moistening, it is convenient to use pallets with wet pebbles placed in close proximity.
During the period of growing green mass and abundant flowering, achimenes needs regular feeding. For this purpose, complex fertilizers are used, designed for beautifully flowering plants. Fertilizers are applied at intervals of once every two weeks. The first time they feed a month after waking up and transplanting the bush.
The main thing is not to overdo it. The bush can react to excess fertilizer by dropping leaves.
How to transplant and trim a bush
Ahimenez is transplanted after each wintering at the end of the dormant period. Some gardeners successfully transplant in early summer. Bushes are grown in containers with wide, low sides.
The procedure is performed in the following sequence:
- 30-60 minutes before transplanting the achimenes, the container with the plant is watered abundantly.
- The rhizomes are removed from the pot and carefully cleaned of the soil.
- Tubers are carefully inspected for damaged and rotted areas. If any are found, the sections are removed and treated with wood ash.
- The container is 1/3 filled with drainage, the role of which is played by sand mixed with vermiculite. The drainage is sprinkled with a layer of new soil mixture, on top of which a thin layer of sand is formed, and then the soil is again lined.
- Viable rhizomes of Ahimenes – dark brown roots are planted in a container with a new soil mixture, laying roots at the level of the sandy layer.
Important point! Processing and soaking the material in fungicidal formulations will help get rid of mold on the roots.
Some novice flower growers, in order to get a more colorful composition, are planted in one container for several varieties. Doing this is undesirable. Different varieties may differ in the speed of development. As a result: more powerful bushes will “oppress” the weak ones.
Ahimenes does not need pruning. The only exceptions are the moments when young shoots increase their green mass. In this case, to stimulate branching, they are pinched at the stage of the second and third leaflet. The only “minus” of such pinching is the postponement of flowering by 2-3 weeks later.
Ahimenes breeding methods
To obtain new plants when growing achimenes at home, 3 methods of propagation are used: seeds, cuttings and rhizomes. Each of them has its own characteristics.
For planting, use well-ripened seed. It is collected from green box houses formed on the site of a flower, ripened within 2 months. Seeds are sown in the period from the second half of February to the beginning of March, spreading over the soil mixture prepared on the basis of equal portions of leafy soil and sand.
From above, the planting material is not sprinkled with anything.
The seeds distributed over the surface are irrigated with a spray gun and covered with glass or film. This will create an optimal greenhouse effect for germination. The main thing is to maintain the humidity regime and regularly ventilate the planting.
The first shoots will appear in 2-3 weeks. At the stage of formation of 2-3 leaves, seedlings are thinned out in order to provide enough space for the development of the roots of young plants. Fortified bushes at the age of 2 months are seated in containers.
Cuttings are cut from young shoots. For rooting, wet sand is used, mixed in equal proportions with leafy soil. The stalk is buried in the soil mixture by almost half. To create a greenhouse effect, a “dome” of a plastic bottle is formed over the handle.
The rooting process lasts 2-3 weeks. During this period, it is important to regularly ventilate and moisten the planting material. After a couple of weeks from the moment of rooting, the plant can be transplanted into a full-fledged container for a permanent “place of residence”.
Growing from rhizomes
The easiest way to propagate achimenes involves separating 1-2 viable rhizomes from the rhizome during transplantation. They are small cones 5-40 mm long.
Rhizomes of achimenes are planted in light peat soil mixed with baking powder. Parts of the rhizome are laid horizontally, covered with a layer of earth 15-20 mm thick on top. The container with planted rhizomes is moistened and placed in a bright, well-heated place.