Hothouse herbaceous summer flowering plants growing from loose rhizomes held in high esteem in the gardens of Europe but seldom seen here. They are usually grown in pans from six to twelve inches across and six inches deep. They should have drainage and' the compost should be a good light loam to which has been added a fourth of leafmold and rotted manure. They like neither a stagnant moisture nor a heavy soil.
Although not at all likely to become popular as a commercial plant they are by no means difficult to grow. The small soft roots should be planted in the pans about two inches apart in February or March, pressing the roots into the soil half an inch below the surface, and started growing in a temperature of 60 degrees. Later on, as spring advances, any house will do for them. Shade from the hottest suns. As they grow they like an abundance of water, and being subject to greenfly and red spider they must be lightly but regularly fumigated, and up to flowering time give them a daily syringing.
They are, however well grown, entirely useless unless each stem is tied to a small stake. They last a long time in flower. When flowering is done gradually, withhold water till the foliage is entirely gone, then store away under a warm, dry bench till the following spring. In starting them in the spring shake out of the old soil entirely. They are propagated by cuttings, pieces of the stem growing freely in the spring with bottom heat; also by seed, sown in early spring. The beginner had, however, better buy the roots from a seedsman.
Although not of commercial value the achimines is a splendid plant for a private greenhouse during the summer months. There are a score of species, nearly all from tropical America, and from these hundreds of hybrid varieties. And it is the hybrids that are cultivated.