Plants like Achimenes can produce a spectacular combination of foliage and flowers in Spring and Summer. Each flower lasts for only a few days but flowering period is extensive.
As soon as the rhizomes start into growth, in early Spring, the plant can be helped into new growth by watering the compost with warm water- hence the common name of Hot water Plant, however the water should not be too hot as this will damage the rhizome. Water the plant plentifully as much as necessary to keep the compost thoroughly moist. Never let the plant stand in water.
During the early week of the active growth period, use nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizer to encourage leaf growth. As buds form, change to a fertilizer that contains more phosphate and potash than nitrogen. Apply one eight strength dose of fertilizer at every watering until the flowering period has ended.
Use equal amounts of peat moss, perlite or coarse sand and vermiculite. To reduce acidity add 3 or 4 tablespoons of crushed eggshells to 4 cups of mixture. In early Spring the clumps of newly sprouting rhizomes should be shaken out of the previous year's potting mixture and place them horizontally half inch below the surface in shallow pots of fresh mixture.
Propagate from a 3 inch tip cutting taken in early Summer. A cutting will root easily in the potting mixture if kept at normal room temperature in bright filtered light and water plentifully.
Actively growing Achimenes does best in bright light, avoiding the mid-day sun. If high heat persists for more than a day or two, buds will turn brown and fail to open.
Pinch out the tips of any shoots when they reach 3 inches to encourage bushiness and flower production.
Stop watering after flowering. When compost is dry, pull off the shrivelled growths. Take out rhi\omes, store them in dry sand or peat in temperature 13°C until Spring.
Achimenes need warmth to grow well. They are bushy plants that are often used in hanging baskets.
Spray the foliage daily with warm water to give the plant some humidity.
The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7,000 years ago.