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How to Grow Bulb Plants (Achimenes)

Type of bulb: Rhizome

Season of bloom: Summer

Colors: Pink, blue, lavender, orchid, purple

Grows to: 1 to 2 feet (some trailing)

When to plant: Late winter or early spring

Where to plant: Light shade

How deep to plant: 1/2 to 1 inch

Hardiness: Tender; store indoors over winter (see below)
Achimenes puts on a lavish floral display throughout the summer, of-ten blooming so profusely that its slender stems and hairy, pointed oval leaves are almost obscured from view. Each flower is a five-lobed, flat-faced trumpet, 1 to 3 inches across.

Container culture. This plant looks its best when displayed in contain-ers—individual pots, planters, or hanging baskets. Plant the small, irregularly shaped rhizomes in late winter or early spring, maintaining a minimum temperature of 60°F/ 16°C to encourage sprouting. Plant about 1 inch deep in a mixture of half moist peat moss, half sand; when plants are about 3 inches tall, transplant to containers filled with a potting mix of equal pans peat moss, leaf mold, and perlite. Or plant rhizomes directly in their intended containers (using the potting mix just described), setting them 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. During the growing season, pinch back new growth if you want plump, bushy plants; leave growth unchecked for hanging basket specimens.

Water growing plants regularly. Once a month, apply a liquid fertil-izer diluted to half strength. When day length shortens, flowering will lessen, then cease. As blooming ends, gradually cut back on water and let plants die down. Store rhi-zomes in their containers over win-ter, keeping soil dry and cool (but not below 40°F/4°C). In late winter or early spring, knock rhizomes out of containers and replant.

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