Family: Hot Water Plant, Magic Flower, GESNERIACEAE
Related to African Violets and Gloxinias, Achimenes are found wild in Central America. Their name means ‘cold suffering’ and a cold snap in the growing season may make them go dormant unless you give warm water, hence the popular name.
Put the small scaly tubers in a sandy-acid soil mixture with plenty of leaf-mould, and maintain a constant level of moisture until flowers appear. They like the sun in the spring, but more sheltered conditions in summer.
The many varieties (which include white, pink, blue, orange and red-spotted yellow flowers) are hybrids from original species and have varying habits upright, bushy or trailing — the latter particularly spectacular in hanging baskets.