The Q&A Archives: Care of Achimenes

Question: I need information about the planting and care of these bulbs/pips I bought from Burpee. Nothing came with the product. Also what is the best approach for white flies before I plant my annuals? Is there something I can add to the soil to kill them before the plants get attacked?

Answer: Sorry you didn't receive cultural info with your shipment! I'll let Burpee C/S know about this. Achimenes can be grown in pots, hanging baskets or shady garden beds. They prefer a growing site that gets bright, diffused light but not direct sun (such as hanging under the eaves of your porch). Keep in mind that they can grow 1-2' tall, so leave plenty of head room for them. They need a rich potting soil that drains well. You can mix some slow-release granular fertilizer with the soil before planting, or feed with a fluid plant food at intervals over the summer. Plant 3-4 rhizomes per 6" pot, laying them horizontally about 1" deep. Keep them well watered, but not so much that water stands in the saucer below the pot. They perform best where night temperatures remain above 60F. If you want to save the rhizomes to plant next year, slack off watering to let the foliage fade. Remove and dry the rhizomes and store them in a mesh bag or old pantyhose suspended in a cool, dry place.

As for whiteflies, they don't come from the soil, they blow in on the wind! You can apply Burpee's Hot Pepper Wax to the emerging plants to repel whiteflies, or use a the neem-based Japanese Beetle Repellent, which also repels whiteflies. (both are considered "organic"). Enjoy!

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