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.
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.
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.
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!