Ahimenes – lush bloom with minimal maintenance – Beautiful indoor plants

One of the brightest and simplest flowering classical plants, achimenes, is confused by many with balsams, then with campanula. Ampelous or bushy, achimenes seem rustic and slightly vintage, but only at first glance. There is perhaps nothing old-fashioned about the fact that this plant blooms profusely and has simple leaves. Decorating window sills with bright clouds of flowers, Ahimenes invites you to recall the classics. It is easy to grow even without much experience, and new varieties bloom so profusely that even the annuals can overshadow.

Achimenes. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com oops-cache


The rustic beauty of half-forgotten Achimenes

Relatives of the beloved Saintpaulia Achimenes in the last decade have almost disappeared from the shelves of flower centers. They are often referred to as “grandmother’s” plants, underestimating the beauty of both greenery and flowering. It is for the sake of the latter that Achimenes is grown. At their peak, they resemble chintz fabrics, thanks to the bright single flowers that dot the cushions of greenery.

The status of a flowering plant does not make Achimenes capricious: it is a hardy, undemanding, but somewhat unusual plant for lovers of romantic classics.

The Ahimenes, unlike the closest relatives of the Saintpaulias, do not belong to African endemics. This plant came to us from the South American flora, having lost in the process of domestication and the ability to develop quite aggressively, and have a larger size. True, Achimenes does not belong to the capricious tropical plants, living mainly in the subtropics and being content with average humidity.

The name Ahimenes presumably received in the days of Ancient Hellas, with the light hand of Pliny, who gave the name of the “magic plant” (according to another version – “afraid of the cold”), but disputes about the origin of the name are still ongoing. Despite its rather striking appearance, the popular nicknames of Achimenes are not so popular, although many people like to call this plant a “friendly family”.

Ahimenes are mistaken for traditional rhizome herbaceous perennials. They have a very unusual rhizome, develop in the form of scaly-pineal, elongated rhizomes, somewhat similar to caterpillars, and thanks to them differ from any other representative of the Gesneriev family.

Superficial roots require the correct selection of growing containers. Tuberous rhizomes are light, up to 7 cm in length. In height, the bushes of Achimenes will not exceed 20-30 cm. Conventionally, these plants are divided into two varieties – ampelous forms with drooping shoots and upright or bushy Achimenes, which are sometimes presented in catalogs as upright achimenes.

They differ only in the form of growth and flexibility of the shoots. Drooping, thin, unable to withstand the weight of leaves and inflorescences of shoots in the former and slightly stronger, but not rigid, upright-growing ones in the latter. Ahimenes are easily formed, allowing, thanks to easy pruning, to control the size and shape of the bushes, but by nature they are quite thick and lush, they stretch only under extremely inappropriate conditions. In length, shoots of achimenes can reach 60 cm.

The foliage of Achimenes is simple, with its wrinkled, generously veined surface and its general shape similar to nettles. The softness of the leaves, pleasant to the touch, is combined with intense dark, most often cold-emerald shades of color. A reddish tint appears on the underside of the leaves.

In some varieties, the leaves flaunt a purple color, almost all Achimenes have a beautiful, pleasant edge on the leaves and shoots, surprising with long hairs. Pointed tips, coarse-toothed edge, opposite arrangement, smaller internodes at the tops of the shoots allow Achimenes to create the effect of a cushion of greenery. The fineness of the leaf blade and the glossy sheen of the surface are often unusual.

Ahimenes blooms profusely from July to September, although many hybrids are able to bloom for more than three monthsAhimenes blooms profusely from July to September, although many hybrids are capable of blooming for more than three months. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com miculparadis

How and when does achimenes bloom?

Achimenes flowers really look rustic, but once you look at them, the original asymmetry, and the unusual structure, and beautiful details will become noticeable. The narrow tube turns into a flat bend with five round lobes-petals closely overlapping each other, in which the smaller sizes of the two upper petals are not always striking and appear differently in varieties.

The diameter of the corolla can reach 5 cm. The pharynx is always contrasting, most often yellow, with original specks and strokes that are almost invisible from a distance, but adorn the plant. Achimenes is characterized by mostly solitary, sessile flowers in the axils of the leaves, although in some new hybrids the flowers are collected in loose brushes.

The Achimenes color range includes the purest shades of pink – watercolors, easily recognizable, vibrant colors associated with flowering classics. Candy pink and raspberry, salmon and scarlet, lilac and purple in different varieties are striking in their purity. Today, two-tone varieties of achimenes are very popular, although the plant is associated, first of all, with flowers of pure and bright acrylic colors.

The flowering period of Achimenes traditionally falls on the hottest summer months. Most varieties delight with flowers from July to September, although many hybrids are able to bloom profusely for more than three months. Each flower lasts only a few days, but the rate of release of new buds fully compensates for the rate of rapid flowering.

Types of indoor Achimenes

Today, Achimenes are represented mainly by hybrid varieties with a hard-to-establish origin. The hybrids are so bright and good that the species have almost completely disappeared from the windowsills. But still, not all Achimenes on sale remain unnamed: several species still stand out clearly from competitors and are easily recognizable.

The greatest attention of breeders and collectors has always attracted achimenes erect (Achimenes erecta). This is a powerful, bushy plant with pubescent reddish shoots and toothed, fairly light leaves, famous for its red, dazzling scarlet, asymmetrical flowers up to 2 cm in diameter.The small color does not prevent the achimenes from maintaining high decorativeness, it looks like a patterned miracle and always attracts attention.

Other types of Achimenes with larger flowers are popular:

Ahimenes grandiflorum (Achimenes grandiflora) Is a fairly large species, the shoots of which can stretch up to 60 cm, with large ten-centimeter leaves with a very dark emerald color and developing in the form of an erect, spreading bush. Flowers with white, red, purple or pink tones bloom along the entire length of the shoots and appear huge.

Ahimenes longiflorum (Achimenes longifolia) Is a herbaceous perennial about 30 cm high with typical rhizomes and drooping, almost non-branching stems. The opposite leaves are lanceolate, with a dark color, decorated with neat serrated edges. In the axils of the leaves, single flowers bloom with a large calyx, a very graceful tube and a limb that can exceed 6 cm in diameter. The periwinkle shade of the color of the base plant in the varieties changes to different tones of white, lilac and pink.

Both plants are sold in bright varieties, the name of which never indicates the shade of the color of the flowers (for example, Little beauty pink-flowered or violet-flowered variety Paul Arnold).

Achimenes erectaAchimenes erecta. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com gesneriads
Achimenes grandiflora (Achimenes grandiflora)Achimenes grandiflora (Achimenes grandiflora). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com small a
Achimenes longifolia (Achimenes longifolia)Achimenes longifolia (Achimenes longifolia). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com gesneriads

Growing conditions for indoor achimenes

Among flowering plants, many species have similar “average” growing requirements. Ahimenes surpasses even the chosen unpretentious, because there is no need for him to organize a cool winter. It is enough to choose bright, intense lighting – and this plant will feel quite comfortable in an ordinary room.

Ahimenes are seasonal houseplants. For a dormant period, they completely shed their leaves, resuming growth only after a few months of suspension of the growing season. For Achimenes, the traditionally dormant period occurs in autumn and winter: the leaves die off and dry out in October, and active vegetation resumes in February.

Lighting and placement

The photophilous nature of achimenes requires very careful selection of the growing area, and the sensitivity of leaves and flowers to direct sun, which instantly leaves burns, limits placement options. Ahimenes love scattered, bright places.

It is better to place this plant on windowsills, artificial supplementary lighting does not compensate for the lack of natural light: if the plants are grown with supplementary lighting, then it should be constant, lasting from 14 to 16 hours a day. She is loved only by the species Achimenes.

For the dormant period, when the plant sheds all aboveground parts, the achimenes is rearranged where it is convenient, to any dark place – until the time when it begins to grow again. At the very beginning of the growth of shoots, Achimenes is kept in partial shade or in diffused lighting. They are moved to the lighting habitual for the phase of active growth only after the shoots have risen to 6-8 cm.

Ahimenes – plants for decorating living rooms. But in living rooms, they should be placed only when their appearance fits into the style of the interior. Ahimenes can lose their appeal in the company of more austere or more lacy plants, they look good alone or with other nostalgic cultures.

Suitable for nostalgic, romantic and classic interior styles, or where color and texture are relied on. These South Americans feel great in the kitchen, where their elegance and chintz look especially festive.

When placing Achimenes, it should be borne in mind that they fully reveal their beauty only when placed slightly raised or at the same level with the eyes.

It is better to place this plant on windowsills, artificial supplementary lighting does not compensate for the lack of natural lightIt is better to place this plant on windowsills, artificial supplementary lighting does not compensate for the lack of natural light. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com miculparadis

Temperature control and ventilation

Ahimenes are thermophilic plants. They seem to be made for living quarters. After all, the most comfortable temperature for them is the temperature from +18 to +25 degrees. Throughout the year, regardless of the stage of development, plants must be protected from sudden cold snaps. The cold is destructive for the Ahimenes, but the heat also negatively affects not only flowering, but also on the leaves, leading to a rapid loss of decorativeness.

For Ahimenes, it is unacceptable to lower the air temperature to +16 degrees, but in summer it is better to increase the minimum allowable value to 20 degrees Celsius. During the wintering of Achimenes without soil, the optimum temperature is about 16 degrees, but even if preserved in the substrate, rhizomes winter better in slightly lower rather than hot temperatures.

Ahimenes must be protected from temperature extremes and sudden changes in conditions. This is a delicate plant that can suffer from drafts (they are especially dangerous during the flowering stage). At the same time, plants thrive on balconies and in the garden, subject to the selection of sheltered places and control of night temperatures.

Home care for achimenes

Requiring no extraordinary treatments, Achimenes nevertheless remains a plant that needs careful care. Even inexperienced flower growers will not have difficulties with him, but the plant does not forgive mistakes with watering.

The duration of the flowering of achimenes directly depends on how much the care will meet the needs of the plant and how the humidity of the air and substrate will be controlled and changed. The key factor is constant monitoring of the state of the plant in the phase of active development. But in the winter you can relax.

Watering and air humidity

During the entire phase of active growth and flowering, Achimenes require careful, but systemic watering. It is better to establish the frequency of these procedures by checking the degree of drying of the substrate and adjusting it in such a way that the soil always remains evenly moist, not moist, but dries out only in the upper layer.

For Ahimenes, both drought and overflow are dangerous. When watering, be sure to drain the excess water from the pallets, divide the watering into several passes for more even saturation of the substrate and reduce the risk of excess moisture accumulation in the soil.

Reducing watering during the dormant period is key in growing a plant. Starting in September, the plant is gradually transferred to a dry mode, watering less and less abundantly until the earthen coma is completely dry. In winter, watering is carried out only to preserve the viability of the rhizome, watering along the edge of the containers no more than 1 time per month.

In a dry substrate, Achimenes are kept throughout the winter, gradually resuming watering in mid-February. The first watering is carried out with a small amount of water, creating light moisture and stimulating the release of shoots. As soon as achimenes grows, he is transferred to regular watering.

For the Achimenes, only soft water is used, but the most critical parameter is its temperature. Plants can only be watered with water of the same temperature as the air in the room. Watering with cold water is very dangerous, but it is not worth raising its temperature by more than 2-3 degrees, compared to the temperature of the content.

Despite the fact that Achimenes grow not only in the tropics, plants cannot stand very dry air. Spraying for this crop is not suitable, especially at the flowering stage, therefore, it is necessary to compensate for too low moisture levels by installing humidifiers or in other ways.

When placing the Ahimenes, it should be borne in mind that they fully reveal their beauty only when placed slightly raised or at the same level with the eyesWhen placing Achimenes, it should be borne in mind that they fully reveal their beauty only when placed slightly raised or at the same level with the eyes. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com limundo

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

Ahimenes feed only during spring and summer. For them, you need to use a slightly different feeding scheme than for ordinary indoor plants – with more frequent procedures, similar to feeding for annuals and seasonal plants.

Top dressing with a frequency of 1 time per week is an ideal option, but the concentration of fertilizers must be reduced by half, compared with the manufacturer’s recommended one. They begin to carry out top dressing only 6-7 weeks after the start of shoot growth.

For achimenes, the increased phosphorus content is of key importance.

Plants do not even like complex preparations, therefore, when choosing fertilizers, it is better to give preference to special fertilizers for flowering plants.

Pruning and shaping achimenes

A simple pinching of the tops of the shoots makes it easy to control the direction of growth and the splendor of the achimenes bushes. The first pinching is carried out as soon as the shoots rise to a height of 6-7 cm. After the leaves of the achimenes wither, the above-ground dry parts of the plant can be carefully cut off.

Transplant, containers and substrate

Ahimenes is transplanted at the beginning of the active growing season. This plant usually begins to “wake up” in February, and it is the end of February-beginning of March that is the best time to transplant the plant. In emergencies or if the transplant had to be postponed, it can be carried out throughout the spring.

Garden achimenes, like indoor ones, can not be left in the soil for a dormant period: after the leaves die off, rhizomes can be dug up and stored in a cool room with a temperature of about 16 degrees in perlite, sand, peat or sawdust until planting in spring. But for indoor plants it is much easier to simply remove the containers after drying the earthy coma to any place with suitable temperatures.

It is better to select the soil for the Achimenes according to the same principles as the soil for the Saintpaulias. This plant prefers light, slightly acidic, nutritious soils without coarse texture. From purchased substrates, it is better to choose mixtures for the Gesnerievs or Saintpaulias, in extreme cases – mixtures for decorative flowering crops.

If the soil is mixed independently, then a light soil mixture of sand, high peat, leafy and soddy soil in a ratio of 2: 2: 1: 1 or a substrate of sod, leafy soil and sand in a ratio of 4: 2: 1 can be used for it.

Ahimenes have a specific superficial root system. These plants are planted only in wide and shallow pots that allow them to grow in breadth, but do not create the risk of waterlogging the substrate at the bottom of the pot. The plant does not like too spacious pots, it develops better in small pots.

Achimenes transplant has its own specific rules. Rhizomes should be carefully examined to check for signs of tissue dryness or damage from rot and other diseases. Rhizomes that appear damaged or completely dry are not used.

Etching in a weak solution of fungicides or potassium permanganate can prevent many problems in the development of achimenes. Plants for getting more lush bushes are often planted closer together, but actively developing rhizomes do not like a dense arrangement. On a standard pot with a diameter of 12 cm, you can plant no more than three Rhizos of achimenes, placing them at the same distance from each other and from the walls of the pot.

When landing on the bottom of the tanks, a high drainage layer with medium or small fractions must be laid. The containers are half filled with the substrate, the rhizomes are carefully installed and only then the remaining substrate is poured. The soil layer above the rhizomes should be about 1 cm.

Rhizomes of achimenesRhizomes of achimenes. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com oops-cache

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Most often, Achimenes suffer from rot, which threaten plants with waterlogged soil and improper watering. But pests also adore their special leaves. Ahimenes are easily infected with mealybugs, aphids and spider mites. Thrips are not uncommon on these plants.

In case of problems with leaving, plants instantly show signals of violations of comfortable conditions. So, watering with cold water manifests itself in spots on the leaves, dry air – in the drying out of their tips, and in the heat and dry air, Achimenesa lose their buds.

Reproduction of achimenes

The simplest way to increase the collection of Achimenes, and the most productive in terms of rejuvenation and preservation of varietal properties, is the separation of rhizomes. Healthy strong and adult rhizomes can be broken into small pieces before planting in the spring (approximate length – about 1,5 cm, at least one eye should remain on each part) and use the cuttings as independent plants. Sections are dried and treated with charcoal.

Traditional cuttings – rooting shoots – are used very rarely. For rooting in Achimenes, only the lower and middle segments of the shoot can be used, rooting cuttings in a light sandy soil mixture under a hood or film, with lower heating.

It is more difficult to grow from Achimenes seeds. They will be able to bloom only when they grow large enough rhizomes, not earlier than the second year after sowing. Sowing seeds is carried out in February or March, superficially, in a light substrate. They can only germinate in a dark place, under a film or glass, in hot temperatures (about 23-24 degrees).

Daily airing and maintaining a stable moisture content of the substrate will allow you to get the first shoots in 15-20 days. Plants are transferred to light immediately, dive as they grow, planting according to the same principles as adult plants. A dormant period is needed for seedlings already in the first year of their development.

You can bookmark this page

Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

View all posts by Anna Evans →