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 Achimenes subsp. var.  Hot water plant
Achimenes grandiflora1scott.zona.jpg
Habit: herbaceous
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial
Exposure: part-sun
Water: moderate
Features: flowers
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Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Gesneriaceae > Achimenes var. ,

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Achimenes (pronounced /æˈkɪmɨniːz/)[1] is a genus of about 25 species of tropical and subtropical rhizomatous perennial herbs in the flowering plant family Gesneriaceae. They have a multitude of common names such as Magic Flowers, Widow's Tears, Cupid's Bower, or Hot Water Plant. The plant's name comes from the Greek word meaning "suffer from cold."

The genus is native to North America (Mexico) and Central America, with one species (A. erecta) occurring naturally in the West Indies. The largest number of species is found in Mexico. Several species and hybrids are widely cultivated and naturalized outside their native range. A complete list of the species, with their synonyms and geographic distributions, can be found in the Smithsonian Institution's World Checklist of Gesneriaceae.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Achimenes (Greek, cheimaino, to suffer from cold). Including Scheeria. Gesneraceae. Greenhouse herbs, allied to gloxinias, native to tropical America, grown for bloom in late spring and in summer.

Plant upright, erect, or drooping: lvs. opposite or whorled, serrate or toothed, mostly hairy: underground sts. scaly and catkin-like, and similar growths sometimes in the axils of the lvs: fls. axillary; 5 calyx-lobes narrow and short; corolla-tube cylindrical and limb spreading; anthers 4, connivent in the tube, and a rudiment of a fifth stamen; style long, usually exserted, the stigma dilated or obscurely 2-lobed. —Perhaps 40 species.

The garden achimenes are much confused by hybridization, and it is doubtful whether any of the pure species are in general cultivation in this country. Years ago, the small red-flowered types (of the coccinea section) were frequent, but modern evolution has proceeded from the broad-flowered purple species. The species described further on seem to have contributed most largely to the present garden forms. Some of the best species are A. longiflora, purplish blue; A. longiflora var. alba maxima, the best white kind; A. patens var. major, a large flower of purplish rose; A. pedunculata, orange; A. heterophylla, tubular, a fiery orange at one end and blazing yellow at the other. There are many named varieties, some of the names being Latin in form. In the grandiflora group the tubers or bulbs are clustered; in the longiflora group the tubers are pear-shaped bodies, growing on the ends of root-like rhizomes. The coccinea (Fig. 105) and hirsuta groups are late bloomers.

The rhizomes of achimenes should be removed from their winter quarters and spread out thinly in boxes, using a size some 3 inches deep, and a light open mixture of leaf-mold and sand to start them in. The lower inch in the box should be covered with some material that will act as drainage; then cover with an inch or so of the compost, and spread out the rhizomes on this and cover with half an inch of the mixture which has been passed through a half-inch mesh sieve. Place in a moist house in a temperature of 60° to 65° F. and water sparingly until the young growths appear. When these are some 2 inches high, they should be lifted from the boxes with the material that is attached to the roots and potted up into 5- or 6-inch pots or 8-inch pans, spacing them equally, and using some ten to fifteen growths for each pot or pan. The material used for this potting should be rich in humus and of a very open porous nature, so as to provide free access of air to the roots and at the same time allow any excess of water to pass away freely. A useful mixture for this purpose is equal parts of loam, leaf-mold and sand. About one-third the depth of the pots or pans should be occupied with drainage. All the rhizomatous forms of achimenes are shallow-rooting, so that there is no advantage in using large and deep pots. This method of staiting the rhizomes first and then potting those that have been started together, is much to be pi eferred to potting them up directly into the flowering sizes, which method, however, is practised by many cultivators. The advantage of the method advised is that all the pots are filled regularly with growths of equal size and vigor, whereas in the other and older method the rhizomes often start irregularly and the pots are only partially filled with growths. After potting up, the pots should be replaced again in the same house as the rhizomes were started in, and kept shaded from all hot sun. From this period onward, growth is rapid and care must be taken not to allow any of them to suffer for want of moisture at the roots, or failure will ensue. When the plants are 6 or 8 inches high, feeding with weak liquid manure should begin, and should be continued regularly until the plants show signs of exhaustion after flowering. When the flowers appear, the plants should then be removed to a somewhat drier airy greenhouse, kept at a temperature of about 50° F., where they will remain until the flowering season is over. They may then be removed to a greenhouse or coolframe to ripen up. The water-supply should be gradually reduced until the plants die down. The best method of storing the rhizomes is to shake entirely out of the old soil, mix them up in a box of sand, and keep them entirely dry in a shed which does not fall below a temperature of 45° F. until the time comes round for starting them again in March or April.—Propagation is readily effected by means of the rhizomes. Each of these may be used for forming one or many plants. Some of the kinds form numerous scaly buds or short rhizomes in the axils of the upper leaves; these may be saved and treated in exactly the same way as the underground rhizomes for propagation. Cuttings of any of the sorts root readily in a moist warmhouse in summer-time. Every node may be used for stock and the parts may be inserted without removing the leaves.—All members of the genus, including the numerous garden forms, are of the easiest possible culture, and there are few greenhouse plants that will furnish such a display of flowers at such a little cost in time and attention. Some of the forms of weak habit make charming subjects for growing as basket plants.CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Achimenes species and hybrids are commonly grown as greenhouse plants, or outdoors as bedding plants in subtropical regions. The species have been extensively hybridized, with many of the hybrids involving the large-flowered species A. grandiflora and A. longiflora. Many of the species and their hybrids have large, brightly colored flowers and are cultivated as ornamental greenhouse and bedding plants. They are generally easy to grow as long as their basic requirements are met: a rich well-drained soil, bright indirect light, warmth, constant moisture, and high humidity. They have a winter dormancy and overwinter as scaly rhizomes, which should be kept dry until they sprout again in the spring. Some of the species and their hybrids are moderately hardy and can be grown outdoors year-round in zone 8, or even zone 7 with protection.


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Pests and diseases

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Two species previously included in Achimenes are now classified in the segregation genus Eucodonia and several phylogenetic studies have supported this separation.

Selected species

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

A. amabilis, Decne.: Naegelia multiflora. — A. atrosanguinea, Lindl. :A. foliosa.—A. candida, Lindl.: Dicyrta Candida.—A. cupreata Hook.:Episcea cupreata. — A. foliosa, Morr. Lvs. cordate, unequal fls. crimson, with saccate tube 1 in. long, with narrow limb. Guatemala. — A. gloxiniaeflora, Forkel.:Gloxinia glabrata.— A. hirsuta, DC. Loose grower: st. bulbiferous: fls. rather large, with swollen tube and oblique limb, rose, with yellow and spotted throat. Guatemala. Once popular.—A. Kleei, Paxt. Dwarf: fls. pink - purple. Form of A. longiflora.—A. lanata, Hanst. (Scheeria lanata, Hanst.). Woolly or white-hairy: fl. pinkish or lilac, large and showy. Mex. —A. multiflora, Gardn. Hairy: lvs. broad-ovate: fls. blue, fringed. Brazil. —A. picta, Benth.:Tydaea picta. —A. rosea, Lindl. Fls. pink or rose, the peduncles many-fld. Guatemala.—A. Scheerii, Hemsl. (Scheeria mexicana. Seem.). Erect, with purple or blue, large and showy fls. Mex. B.M. 4743. —A. Skinneri, Gord.,:A. hirsuta.—Garden forms and hybrids are A. floribunda, A. intermedia, A. Jayii, A. Mountfordii, A. naegelioides, A. nana, A. venusta, A. Verschaffeltii. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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