(Simon Garbutt photograph.)
Add a little magic to your indoor garden with the easy to grow Achimenes.
You may know this relative of the African violet by the common names – magic flowers, cupid’s bower, and hot water plant. Gardeners used to incorrectly believe that if you submerged the plant in hot water it would initiate flowering, thus the common name hot water plant. The pink, blue, lavender, scarlet, white or purple funnel shaped flowers are striking against the fuzzy green leaves.
Plant the rhizomes in a moist organic well-drained potting mix and grow them in a warm brightly lit draft-free location. Water the plants thoroughly with lukewarm water and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Fertilize regularly with a flowering houseplant fertilizer. Remove flowers as they fade and don’t be alarmed when the plant goes dormant, resting for a short period over winter.
A bit more information: Once the leaves die back remove the rhizomes from the pot and store in a cool dry location. Repot in spring, start watering and fertilizing. You can move your magic flower outdoors for summer after the danger of frost has passed.