More Information About Achimenes

Achimenes is commonly known as the orchid pansy, but it is neither an orchid nor a pansy. This exotic African violet relative is usually grown as an annual bedding plant, container plant or a house plant by temperate zone gardeners. Since it is a tropical rhizomatous plant, Achimenes is not normally cold hardy enough for our Raleigh, NC garden. However, we have discovered a few Achimenes cultivars that survive well into USDA hardiness zone 7b. Achimenes species have fuzzy leaves and produce brightly colored flowers over a long period of time in the summer months.

Achimenes plants do not tolerate heavy soils and must have a light, well-amended, well-drained soil in order to prevent winter root rot. During the growing season, Achimenes performs best with plenty of water, high humidity, hot temperatures and a part-sun location. In our Raleigh garden, we seldom see Achimenes sprout before June, so please have patience. Achimenes pairs well with hosta, acalypha, heuchera and ferns. When you’re ready to buy achimenes for your perennial garden, we hope you’ll check out our online list of achimenes for sale.

Achimenes, Cupid’s Bow, Hot Water Plant, Magic Flower, Mother’s Tears, Widow’s Tears ‘Big Purple’



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade


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6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers

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Medium Purple

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Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

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6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)


By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From herbaceous stem cuttings

By simple layering

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Benton, Arkansas

Brooksville, Florida

Chiefland, Florida

Cottondale, Florida

Deland, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Acworth, Georgia

Colfax, Louisiana

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Goose Creek, South Carolina

Linden, Tennessee

Jacksonville, Texas

Murchison, Texas

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