It is Ahimenes who is called the "magic flower" for its beauty. It belongs to the genus Achimenes Pers - the Gesneriaceae family. According to various sources, it contains from 35 to 50 species of perennial tuberous and rhizome herbaceous plants growing epiphytically in tropical forests of both hemispheres - in Central and South America (Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Uruguay, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay, Argentina, Fr. Jamaica).
The name of the genus comes from the Greek words "a" - "not" and "heimaino" - "to endure the cold", i.e. "Does not hibernate", "unbearable (afraid) of the cold", as if informing us that the plant dies off for the winter. The people have one more name for achimenes - "kruchenoplodnik", which speaks for itself. The first mention of Achimenes dates back to the middle of the 18th century, when Achimenes erect (A.erecta) was described in 1756 by Patrick Brown while studying the nature of Fr. Jamaica.
Achimenes has soft pubescent, slightly reddish spreading or creeping stems and wrinkled, broadly lanceolate, oppositely located, whole, and along the edge serrated leaves, often pubescent, on elongated stems. In young plants, these stems are vertical, and the bushes are not too tall. In more mature Achimenes, the stems are drooping, and the plant height reaches 60-65 cm (for example, in Achimenes large-flowered). The top of the leaves is light green and the bottom is purplish red. Its mainly superficial root system is interesting: the underground part of the plant is represented by small scaly pinkish rhizomes - peculiar nodules resembling in their structure cones, mulberries or birch catkins.
With successful care, the plant blooms for a long period - from spring (April-May) to autumn (September-October). Its long-tubular “bells” flowers are located in the leaf axils (one or several) on pedicels of different lengths. Usually they are large in size (up to 5-6 cm in diameter), have a funnel-shaped shape, end with five bent petals (the central, largest, petal stands out from the rest. It is in this shape of a flower with a graceful and large bent fifth petal that achimenes differs from room gloxinia, which sometimes called its relative.Round five-lobed corolla of achimenes can be of different colors - white, blue, yellow, pink, red, purple and purple.Each flower individually does not live long, but it is immediately replaced by new ones, so the entire flowering period of the plant is so long lasting.
For the location of the plant, a sufficiently illuminated place is chosen (preferably south, east or west), in summer - even sunny (however, direct midday rays are not allowed). But in the spring it is generally better not to place it in sunlight, during this period you should even shade new shoots when growing from last year's tubers. Keep in mind that young annuals on a sunny windowsill may also require light shading. On windows of northern orientation, achimenes will also bloom, but not so abundantly, while the duration of flowering will be significantly reduced, the shoots will form frail, elongated, prone to lodging. But you need to know that in the shade, the brightness of the color of flowers fades, and the shoots of ampelous forms are unnecessarily stretched.
During the active growing season, the plant is cultivated in a fairly wide temperature range from 18 to 30 ° C (optimum 20 ... 22 ° C). Although, according to some flower growers, achimenes painlessly tolerate drafts and sudden changes in day and night temperatures, you should not tempt fate. For the summer period, the plant can be taken out into the garden or placed on the balcony, shading it from the scorching sunlight. If the temperature is too high, the buds turn brown.
For successful growth and flowering, the plant needs a nutritious loose soil substrate. For adult plants, experts offer several options for the mixture: leafy and sod land, sand (2: 1: 0.5); deciduous, sod, humus soil, sand (2: 3: 1: 1); leaf and peat, sand (6: 3: 2). According to experienced gardeners, it is not advisable to add a lot of sand to the soil substrate, as this leads to rapid drying of the soil in sunny weather, as a result of which the plant will experience an acute moisture deficit. Instead of sand, you can use perlite or vermiculite. Sometimes a mixture of peat soil, coconut substrate, sand (3: 1: 1) is used, adding to it a little powdered eggshell and superphosphate. You can also use a mixture of deciduous, turf, coniferous and peat soil, sand (1: 2: 2: 3: 3). As a baking powder, finely chopped white sphagnum moss is recommended. Some growers use a store-bought mixture for decorative flowering plants.
Since Achimenes maintains its root system in the topsoil, it is wise to choose a shallow pot for it. When using a high capacity, it is possible for the undeveloped soil to sour at the bottom of the pot, which will lead to rotting of the root system itself. Drainage at the bottom of the pot (up to 1/3 of the crockery volume) is required. Hanging pots or tall flowerpots are ideal for ampel forms, wide bowls for undersized ones. Depending on the diameter of the selected container, you can place up to 5-10 nodules.
During the period of active growth and flowering, achimenes loves regular and abundant watering with settled soft water at room temperature. The soil in the pot should be constantly moist, but extremes should be avoided: they do not allow both the soil clod to dry out strongly, as well as its excess moisture. After watering, the excess water is drained from the pan. Sometimes they just practice watering the plant from the pallet. A constantly waterlogged soil substrate can lead to rotting of small plant roots, which may lead to the death of the entire plant. When the soil is overdried, the plant abruptly stops flowering, its upper part dries out, and the nodules go into premature hibernation. Although achimienes is able to thrive in high humidity conditions (he even loves it), he does not specifically need to artificially increase humidity by spraying. The best way to increase the humidity is to place the pot on a pallet of damp moss or wet pebbles. You can put dishes with water or wet moss next to this plant. Ahimenes, like all Gesneriaceae, should not be sprayed, as spots appear on delicate leaves and flowers, which reduces the decorative effect of the plant, and if you spray it on a sunny day, this agricultural practice can lead to burns, and in cool weather - to the development of mushroom diseases (for example, gray mold). If the grower nevertheless decides to spray other neighboring plants, then he must spray water from a fine spray bottle, creating only a light mist.
Achimenes is propagated by seeds, nodules and nodule division, as well as green cuttings. Most often and easily, Achimenes is propagated by dividing the rhizome. It is least painful during transplantation of a plant that has come out of dormancy. Pieces of rhizome are slightly buried into the soil by 0.5-1 cm. In order not to damage the nodules, sometimes they are simply laid out on the soil surface, sprinkled with earth with a layer of 2 cm on top, and watered regularly. Germination begins in 8-12 days (depending on temperature).
Although green cuttings in the first half of summer are rarely used for propagation of Achimenes, experienced florists sometimes resort to this technique. For cuttings, it is necessary to take the middle and lower parts of the stem (the upper part takes root worse). Experts recommend that when grafting, pay attention to the fact that there are at least two internodes on the remaining shoot. Then he will bush well and delight you with an abundance of flowers. The cuttings themselves are rooted in sand or a mixture of sand and leafy earth (1: 1), moistened and covered with a glass cap or plastic wrap. With an excess of substrate moisture, cuttings can rot. To increase the return during grafting and accelerate the rooting process, treatment with root formation stimulants (root, heteroauxin) and lower heating are used. It takes about two weeks for rooting (at a temperature of 20 ... 22 ° C), and after 5-6 days the formation of nodules already begins. Rooted cuttings are planted 2-3 in small pots with a substrate selected for adult plants.
Young annual plants bloom in about 1.5-2 months after waking up, but if there is insufficient light, this period can stretch indefinitely. When Achimenes is propagated by nodules, flowering begins faster than when propagating by cuttings - after 3-4 months, and plants obtained from seeds bloom by the end of the second year.
The ending follows
Alexander Lazarev, candidate of biological sciences, Senior Researcher, All-Russian Research Institute of Plant Protection, Pushkin
The most popular method of flower propagation at home among flower growers is the division of the rhizome, most often this procedure is performed during a flower transplant. The main rule when dividing the rhizome is that each part must have a growth point, otherwise the plant will not grow. First, the root is cut into several parts, each of which should dry out a little, after which the cut is processed with charcoal. Further, part of the root is planted in a separate container and placed in a well-lit place.
From the beginning of the growing season until mid-July, it is recommended to apply nitrogen-containing dressings at intervals of 2 weeks, and then fertilizers are applied with the same regularity, but without nitrogen content. Top dressing with potassium and phosphorus in August and September contributes to better crop survival in winter.
Watering is not essential to the plant as it is drought tolerant.
As soon as the first flowering period is over, you need to rid the flower of all wilted and dried inflorescences. After a short period of time, the next flower period will begin.
With the arrival of autumn, you need to start preparing the plant for winter. First, a complete pruning of all shoots is carried out to the level of the ground surface, then the flower beds are covered with a mulch layer. You can choose humus, compost or peat as mulch. This shelter is capable of protecting plantings only in regions with a warm or temperate climate. For more severe climatic conditions (with severe frosts, a minimum of snow and sudden temperature changes), more reliable winter insulation will be required. A constructed dry air cover in the form of a frame, covered with special polyethylene (or other) materials or ordinary spruce branches, will protect the plantings of the kentranthus from snow, frost and rain.
To preserve decorativeness and strengthen the vitality of plants, it is recommended to renew flower bushes every 3 years.
The easiest way to increase the number of achimenes in the house is in the spring, at the time of transplantation, to divide the bulb into several parts and plant these parts in different containers. This method of reproduction is called rhizome division. But there are other methods as well.
Two weeks after sowing, the first seedlings will appear above the ground. They need to be given a couple of months in order for them to get stronger, and then they should be seated in different containers so that the little Achimenes do not interfere with each other's development.
Ahimenes is a relative of the violet, belongs to the Gesneriaceae family. He has beautiful velvet leaves, the plant pleases with abundant flowering. Looks especially attractive in hanging baskets. The name comes from the Greek words "a" - not, as well as "cheiniaino" - to endure cold, that is, one that does not tolerate cold. Therefore, for the winter it dies off.
It is a perennial plant, reaching a height of 30-60 cm. The flowers are very beautiful: tubular, red, pink, white, purple. It does not bloom for long. Both shoots and flowers are very fragile and break easily. To make the bushes more beautiful, pinch their tips. The plant has a distinct dormant period, which can last 4-5 months. For the winter, when it begins, the achimenez is pruned, and the tubers are harvested in a dark, cool place. It is grown in warm, light or semi-shaded places. The plant does not like direct rays of the sun, it is afraid of temperature changes. In summer it can be freely taken out into the open air. During the flowering period, the flowerpot is watered abundantly, while feeding it with full mineral fertilizer every 2 weeks. After flowering, watering is gradually reduced. Like violets, achimenes is not sprayed, but the air in the room should be humid. It is advisable to water through a tray so that water does not fall on the leaves. Water for irrigation should preferably be warm (no colder than 20 degrees) and settled. The air temperature during the growth period is not lower than 17 degrees, the optimum is 20-24 degrees. When the plants have faded, they gradually begin to prepare for rest, reducing watering. After flowering, tubers are stored at a temperature of about 7 degrees. You can leave them in the pot, or you can take them out.
During the germination period, the air temperature is increased to 15-18 degrees. Plants need good drainage and nutritious loose soil. It can also consist of a mixture of leafy earth, humus, sand and peat. Ahimenes can infect aphids, thrips, ticks.
Propagated more often by cuttings, dividing a bush, from seeds or tubers. The tubers are planted in moist soil in February. They are laid out on the surface, and then covered with a layer of earth about 2 cm thick. They wait for the sprouts to appear for 10-20 days. The roots of achimenes are short, so they take shallow pots for growing. Cuttings root quickly and can take root in water.
Keep in mind that when propagated by tubers, flowering starts faster.
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