Achimenes are commonly called hot water plants, they got this name because they need warm water to persuade the rhyzomes to sprout. They are from the same family of plants as African Violets, (Gesneriads).They were very popular during the Victorian times and recently have become popular again, with many hybrids and colours offered for sale. I have hybridized some myself and got some interesting variations from the same parent plants.
Here is my collection of species and hybrids that I have bought or been given over the years.
An image to show the range of sizes and shapes of the flowers I have.
My interst of achimenes was awakened when this plant was given to me by my husbands Great Aunt, over 40 years ago. She had, had it for years, so I think it must come from Victorian times. It is an upright variety with a lovely spotted throat.Unfortunately I do not know the name of this variety. If anyone has any idea please email me. My address is on my all about me page.
I tried to collect different colours back then, but as they were not very popular I had great difficulty in finding them. However, over the past few years they have become popular once again and the old varieties were available to buy. Recently people have been hybridizing them, so new colours have appeared. Of course we now have the internet to find and order new hybrids.
I cannot remember the order I got the rest of my current plants. Quite a few were a Mothers Day present. I had circled a few I liked in a catalogue from a nursery that specialises in Gesneriads, for my daughter to choose from. She bought me every one that I had circled! I am a lucky mum.
This one I bought on ebay, because I liked the colour, but it is another unknown variety.
The following are the varieties that my daughter bought me.
A tall variety that needs a little support. The flowers are darker yellow when they first open and then fade to a lovely lemon, with a brown spotted throat. This is a hybrid from Little beauty x Flavia by Lyon in 1964
This one is an old Victorian variety. It is a species of Achimenes and not a hybrid. It was discovered in Mexico around 1840.
This is another species that grows wild in Mexico. The earliest date I can find for this one is 1963
This is a cultivar that was introduced in 1855. A Victorian variety, named after the famous Belgian horticulturist and author of several books on floriculture, Ambroise Verschaffelt (1825-1886). In the UK, this cultivar has received the prestigious award of the Royal Horticultural Society (Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit).
Victorian variety introduced in 1858
Once again it is a species from Mexico and the earliest date I can find is 1839.
Lady in Black
Serge Saliba hybridised this in 2007.
Two years ago I cross pollinated some of my varieties to see what I would get. It is a slow process and I probably won’t see the resulting colour until the third year. The first year the seed was set and collected and stored until the following spring. The seed is finer than some pollens and looks like dust. I planted the seed, labeled it and waited for the seedlings to appear. I was lucky two of the hybrids grew and flowered last year. The others grew leaves, made rhyzomes and thenn went into their dormancy. Hopefully I will see the results this year. Here is a picture of the seed under a microscope, magnified 250 times. Followed by A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5 Hybrid. I will think of names for them later. A1 was a cross of Father pink and Mother Jubilee Gem. A2 Same parentage slightly different shape and colour. A3 Mother Jubilee Gem Father Salmon pink, A4 is an unknown hybrid it lost its label and A5 Mother Weinrot Elfe, Father Erecta.
New in my collection for 2016
This year I was able to buy some varieties that are usually hard to get in the uk. I was outbid on a few and then given a second chance to buy, which I did.
This is a hybrid with a stocky habit and thick stems with large flowers.
Serge Saliba’s hybrids
Serge Saliba is an Achimenes grower and hybridizer from Romania. He has a photos of many of his hybrids on flicker. I already own lady in Black and have been after many of his colours. This year I am fortunate to have aquired a few.
This is a double variety that he crossed with A. ‘Elegance’ x A. ‘Rainbow Warrior’. I have found it to be very free flowering and nice firm stems. An upright variety.
Crossed with 2007, ‘Orange Queen’ / A. ‘ Yellow Queen”
A hybrid of Longiflora
I have managed to collect a few more varieties this year.
The first to flower is Ever Blue. Photos to follow as they Flower.
Yellow English Rose: Well this is an interesting one. Some of the flowers are lemony pink and the others Lemon and they are all on the same stem.