Achimenes Surprise

For the past few years I’ve been growing achimenes (pronounced ah-KIM-uh-neez). This difficult-to-find houseplant is so easy to grow and brings a lot of color to the porch. I don’t understand why it’s not more popular.

Two Different Achimenes Plants

Two Different Achimenes Plants

This year I added a new variety of achimenes to the window garden. I purchased the rhizomes online from Easy to Grow Bulbs, one of the few places that offers achimenes. The rhizomes that came were a little small but most of them grew. As the plants started to mature I saw that there was something different about one of the plants growing in the window box. The leaves had a lot more anthocyanin (purple pigment) in them than the others and the plant seemed stockier than the rest.

Ambrose Verschaffelt Achimenes

Ambrose Verschaffelt Achimenes

This past week the achimenes started to bloom. The variety I’m growing is Ambrose Verschaffelt and it has light lavender flowers with darker veins. All of the plants have this kind of flower except for that one rogue plant. When one of its blossoms opened, it was a large purple bloom. I went to the Easy to Grow Bulbs website and saw that one of the varieties they sell – and one I’d thought of purchasing – is called Purple Prince. The picture on the website is identical to the misfit achimenes that blossoming on the porch.

Purple Prince Achimenes

Purple Prince Achimenes

It appears that when they were bagging the achimenes rhizomes, one of the Purple Prince rhizomes made it into my bag of Ambrose Verschaffelt. I’m really happy that this mix-up occurred! At the end of the growing season I’m going to mark this one plant of Purple Prince so that in the spring, when I take the rhizomes out of the soil, I can keep them separate from the Ambrose Verschaffelt rhizomes. It might take a few years, but one day I’ll have enough Purple Prince rhizomes to plant an entire pot.

I got two achimenes varieties for the price of one – now that’s a nice surprise!


2 responses to “Achimenes Surprise

  1. I have a lot of the “rogue” achimenes you described. I’ll be glad to send you some of the plants once it cools down. I’ve never sent live plants before but these plants seem to be hard to kill so I think if I just send the soil from one of my achimenes pots in September or October you’ll have more than enough of the Purple Prince variety next summer. Just email me your mailing address if you’re interested.

    • Thanks for the offer but I have a bunch of different achimenes that are already starting to fill the windowsill – I only have so much room! I think I’ll let nature take it’s course in giving me more Purple Prince rhizomes. It is interesting that you have some rogue plants as well – it must be common with these plants. Happy growing and thanks again for the offer!

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