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Over the years we have found a few of the normally tropical African violet relative, achimenes, that survive in our Zone 7b garden. Achimenes 'Purple King' was the first, and still one of the best, shared with us by former PDN staffer James Proctor. The low 1' tall x 1' wide clump of upright stems is clothed with hairy, dark green foliage and smothered with 2" deep purple flowers from July through September. Achimenes 'Purple King' is late to emerge in spring, not appearing before June. Achimenes does not tolerate wet winter soils, so a winter-dry spot and a good mulch is recommended from Zone 8 north.
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