How to Grow Achimenes

Also known as ‘Hot Water Plant’, Achimenes are closely related to African Violets, and grow from a bulb or rhizome.

Also known as Orchid Pansy, Hot Water Plant or Star of India

These are long flowering plant and grow well in hanging baskets as well as containers. They came into cultivation in the early 1900s in the UK and through Europe, they were very popular and were highly hybridised during this period.

Today we have lost many of these early varieties and is only over recent years that we have been able to gain access to the colorful varieties.

Achimenes plants bulbs and rhizomes for sale include Achimenes ‘Purple King’ a very popular cultivar and can be grown in the garden to zone 8 with a little care over winter.


The trick to growing Achimenes is to have a free draining but moist soil.
They do not like to sit in water, however they do not like to dry out either.
Constant moisture, just slightly moist never wet and never allowed to sit in a saucer of water.

As mentioned, a little drier in winter when dormant.

Good filtered light at all time and fertilise lightly one a week for good growth.

Do not repot until the plant has become a little potbound and use shallow pots to ensure good drainage, make sure pots do not site directly on the ground, this can block drainage holes.

These plants require excellent drainage over winter. Available for sale from participating online Nurseries.

How to Grow Achimenes

  • Grow them indoors except in the warmest zones.
  • Position them in strong filtered light
  • Use a light free draining potting mix, this is essential.
  • Plant the rhizomes around 1 inch deep.
  • Water in lightly until they show signs of growth.’
  • Keep the plants Warm and provide some humidity, this is the key.
  • Keep the moist during active growth.
  • In Fall, as the foliage dies back a little allow to dry a little at a time until dormancy.

Achimenes Varieties

  • Achimenes longiflora – Also known as ‘Cupids Bower’ fascinating species with long white tubular flowers and large velvety foliage.
  • Achimenes cettoana – Smaller growing with mauve to purple flowers
  • Achimenes erecta – An upright habit as the name suggests, red flowers
  • Achimines ‘Harry Williams’ is a popular pink flowering cultivar.


As the plants available for sale are mostly hybrids, propagation is vegetative.

  • The easiest way is from cuttings. They will actually take root in a jar of water.
  • You can also try leaf cuttings, just cut off some leaves and push them stem first into the growing medium. Keep moist and humid, a plastic bag or bottle over the top will help increase humidity

Available online from the following suppliers, Achimenes are sold as dormant tubers during winter.

BRENT and BECKY’S BULBS 7900 Daffodil Lane Gloucester, VA 23061Ordering: (877) 661-2852 Fax: (804) 693-9436

  • Botanical Name : Arisaema amurense
  • Common Name : Chinese cobra Lily
  • Family Name : Aracaeae
  • USDA Zone : 4 – 8
  • Height : 20 inches (.5 metre)
  • Spread : 20 inches (.5 metre)
  • Growth Rate : Medium to Fast
  • Soil : Humus rich, moist and well drained
  • Light : Medium to Light shade.
  • Humidity : Medium
  • Container Growing : Yes
  • Frost Tolerance : Light frosts only
  • Drought Tolerant : No