Achimenes grandiflora in bloom.
image by Scott:commons.wikimeida.org
Achimenes are tender perennial flowering plants grown from underground rhizomes. More commonly known as the nut orchid, cupids bow and orchid pansy, achimenes produces flowers from summer to fall in partial sun and shade gardens. It blooms in an unusually wide color range of cool and warm hues from deep purple, blue and lavender to red, coral, yellow and crisp white. Rhizomes are planted in the spring and widely used in beds, borders and hanging containers.
Select a planting location for your achimenes that will provide bright indirect light, some sun and up to 50 percent daily shade.
Prepare a well-tilled soil that is nutrient rich and friable. Bury your achimenes rhizome lengthwise in the soil at least 1 inch but not more than 2 inches deep in the soil. Space multiple rhizomes at intervals of at least 6 inches. For container planting, use a pot at least 6 inches in diameter.
Water the rhizome well at planting and keep the soil evenly moist around it until shoots begin to appear and the plant is well-established. Water regularly through the growing and flowering season, then cut back on watering entirely to allow the bulb to go dormant and subsist on atmospheric moisture.
Feed with a good bulb fertilizer in the spring each year according to the manufacturers instructions. Apply over wet soil to prevent shock or burn and to speed the uptake of nutrients by the roots. In warmer climate where achimenes blooms for longer periods, apply a second dose of bulb fertilizer in the late summer.
Mulch your newly-planted bulbs with an organic material such as compost, shredded bark or cocoa hulls to preserve soil moisture and keep opportunistic weeds at bay.