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Care Instructions for an Achimenes

These care instructions are written specifically for our achimenes plants, better known as hot water plants.  Other growers may have different care requirements for their plants based on how they have grown their achimenes.  But if you have a Brennan’s Orchids achimenes, these rules will help you keep it happy and robust.

Rule No. 1:  Keep the planting medium lightly moist. Achimenes don’t like to be sopping wet, but they love to be slightly moist while they are actively growing.  Use lukewarm or tepid water when watering because cold water can cause unsightly marks to appear on the leaves.  Nobody enjoys a cold shower.  Do not let the plant sit in water, it must be well drained.  In dormancy, cut your watering schedule back to once a month at the most.

Rule No. 2:  Give the plant the proper light.  Morning or soft late afternoon light is best.  That means an East, West, or shaded South-facing window. Even a Northern exposure will usually provide enough light for the shade-loving achimenes.  Avoid direct sun during the harsh “skin cancer” hours of the day, which is far too harsh.

Rule No. 3:  Regular meals during the growing/blooming cycle, please.  Every other watering during the active growing season, use a water soluble fertilizer with a balanced formula (10-10-10 or 20-20-20) mixed at ½ strength.  When your achimenes goes into dormancy, stop feeding and allow it to die back.

Rule No. 4:  Your plant is potted in a peat potting mix but any soil-less mix will be fine.  Repot your achimenes when it has filled its current pot.  Increase the pot size by the smallest increment possible.  Avoid deep pots; they will hold too much moisture.  Moisten the new mix before planting.  Pot the plant so that the mix is firmly in the pot but still airy.

Rule No. 5:   Remove spent flowers.  In particular, do not let spent blossoms drop onto the leaves and lay there.  This will invite rot and disease.  Remove old, yellowed, or unhealthy leaves.  A clean plant is better able to remain pest and disease free.  If you use anything to cut leaves or stems, please sterilize the instrument first.  Pinch the plant back to maintain a pleasing shape.

Rule No. 6:  Keep the plant in its comfort zone.  You will achieve best results if you grow your achimenes in the temperature range between 50 and 80 degrees.  It is well suited to normal house temperatures.