Achimenes Brighten Shady Corners

June 9, 2006

Houseplants are always a pleasant theme for gardeners, and for many home owners indoor plants are as significant as pets around the home.

Here in the tropics, we have a dazzling selection of indoor plants to choose from to adorn our dwellings.

One in particular sticks out in my mind as worth mentioning. I’m referring to a close relative of gloxinia called achimenes (a-KIM-ee-neez). Achimenes spp. belongs to the family Gesneriaceae, along with gloxinia, cape primrose and episcia. In Costa Rican nurseries, it is correctly called achimenes, but many refer to it incorrectly as gloxinia.

The form and beauty of an achimenes flower in bloom is lovely to see. The trumpet- like flowers have a soft, velvet-like appearance, in colors that range from tones of red and violet to white varieties with speckles of dark violet in the throat of the flower.

The round, downy leaves are variable as opposite or whorled and grow in a low, compact form, which makes them ideal as potted plants for window boxes and porches. Since they thrive best in shaded areas, achimenes are perfect for corners around the home or as a centerpiece for a desk, table or stand.

Leading nurseries around the country offer achimenes plants, or you may find a friendly neighbor who is willing to share “un hijo” or vegetative shoot that arises from the rhizome of the mother plant.

Start your new shoot in a pot with aged compost that is rich in fibrous material or mixed with sand to promote good drainage. Because soil nematodes often attack the tender rhizomes, you can sterilize the potting mix by cooking it in an old, discarded kitchen pot until it steams.

Keep your new plant in a shady area and water frequently. As new leaves develop, move it to an area with partial shade. Plants exposed to full sun tend to suffer from scorched leaves and dehydration.

We’ve found that achimenes plants thrive with a monthly application of compost tea or seaweed extract. You can spray the leaves or apply the liquid to the soil. Occasional foliar spraying with citrus-seed-oil extract is useful for combating leaf and root diseases, while insecticidal soap solutions can be used to control mites and mealy bugs.

 

For more information on home gardening in Costa Rica, visit www.thenewdawncenter or e-mail the newdawncenter@yahoo.com.

 

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Costa Rica confirms measles cases in children of United States citizens
Costa Rica
598 views
Costa Rica
598 views

Costa Rica confirms measles cases in children of United States citizens

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 21, 2019

Costa Rica is enacting a National Surveillance Protocol after confirming two cases of measles, the Health Ministry announced Thursday afternoon.…

Priest accused of sexual abuse arrested trying to leave Costa Rica
Costa Rica
664 views
Costa Rica
664 views

Priest accused of sexual abuse arrested trying to leave Costa Rica

AFP and The Tico Times - March 21, 2019

A Costa Rican Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor was arrested Thursday as he tried to leave…

Construction to begin on new terminal at Limón Airport
Costa Rica
310 views
Costa Rica
310 views

Construction to begin on new terminal at Limón Airport

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 21, 2019

The airport in Limón will soon have a modern passenger terminal and is slated to receive several other upgrades as…