(Orchid Pansy)Achimenes is commonly known as "orchid pansy", but it is neither an orchid nor a pansy. This exotic African violet relative is usually grown as an annual bedding plant, container plant or a house plant by temperate zone gardeners. Since it is a tropical rhizomatous plant, Achimenes is not normally cold hardy enough for our Raleigh, NC garden. However, we have discovered a few Achimenes cultivars that survive well into USDA hardiness zone 7b. Achimenes species have fuzzy leaves and produce brightly colored flowers over a long period of time in the summer months.
Achimenes plants do not tolerate heavy soils and must have a light, well-amended, well-drained soil in order to prevent winter root rot. During the growing season, Achimenes performs best with plenty of water, high humidity, hot temperatures and a part-sun location. In our Raleigh garden, we seldom see Achimenes sprout before June, so please have patience. Achimenes pairs well with hosta, acalypha, heuchera and ferns. When you're ready to buy achimenes for your perennial garden, we hope you'll check out our online list of achimenes for sale.