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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Achimenes from Europe: New from Chiltern Seeds

Posted by Graham Rice on 03 Jan 2012 at 04:57 PM

Achimenes 'Fallen Angel', 'Golden Butterfly', 'Peach Cascade'. Image © Serge Saliba 

Chiltern Seeds have recently issued their thirty seventh annual mail order seed catalogue but as well as vast variety of rare and unusual seeds from around the world, they have often also listed the very latest in Achimenes (sometimes known as Cupid's Bower, or Hot Water Plant).

These neat and bushy relations of the Streptocarpus and the African violet are ideal windowsill and conservatory plants with flat-faced flowers held on long tubes above dark green foliage. They bloom in summer and autumn on plants about 8-15in/20-38cm high.

They have more newcomers this year but Chiltern Seeds don’t supply them as seeds. They come as short lengths of scaly rhizome, often called tubercles, which look a little like tiny pine cones and which are easy to pack like large seeds and send through the post at minimal expense. Just plant in fresh, well-drained compost and away they go.

Chiltern Seeds have been introducing new varieties of Achimenes for many years, and this year they have newcomers from top breeders Serge Saliba from Romania and from Konrad Michelssen from Germany.

From Serge Saliba come ‘Fallen Angel’ (above left, click to enlarge) with large white flowers with a golden throat and a vivid pink picotee edge. There is also ‘Golden Butterfly’ (above, centre), golden yellow towards the centre and white with a hint of pink at the edges, while ‘Peach Cascade’ (above, right) is peachy orange with a yellow centre and a useful spreading habit. You can see many more of Serge Saliba’s Achimenes on Flickr.

Finally, ‘Summer Festival’ comes from German breeder Konrad Michelssen and is especially valued for its voluminous pink flowers set against dark foliage.

Numbers are limited, you can order these new Achimenes from Chiltern Seeds.

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