Friday, November 18, 2011

Easy Plant Spotlight

I get no pleasure out of gardening being hard.  None whatever.  I know there are a few of you out there who really do buy plants that require tons of work just because they require tons of work, but the most of us end up getting these pain in the butt plants because they are different and pretty and not something you see growing in everyone else's garden.

So, after a few years of hanging out in the garden blogosphere, I have come to notice that one of my killer, "so super easy its silly" plants that I inherited from my Mother the very first month I started gardening, NEVER gets mentioned.  I mean, at all.  Like my mother and I are two of the handful of people who are growing it on Earth.  So, for some of you, do I have a treat for you: a plant that is a piece of cake, super 6+ month blooming flower bonanza that requires no care, grows in pots, or in the ground, or inside, along with other things, or by themselves, and comes in various colors... oh, and likes shade.   
Courtesy of Grumpy Gardner

And its actually a rhizome/tubery thing that you can practically just throw anywhere and shove some dirt over.   Have you guessed yet?

Its called achemines.  (ah-kem'-ma-nees).  Mine are the non hybridized originals that come with dark green leaves and dark purple flowers, but now they come in light pink, and medium pink, and every sort of purple, yellow and white.  And I saw one on the web that was white and purple.   

Mine started out as one small pot of them, hanging out in the shade.  The next year I thought, hey, lets plant some of these as dress shoes around another plant, and after another winter when the annual partner died...then there were two pots.   I upgraded the original pot to a large pot, which completely filled itself with them in a few months and bloomed all summer and most of fall.   Apparently I must have left a few of the tubers (they are small), in the original pot, and now I've got yet another pot on the rise.  

The Original

I let mine die back in the winter as I can leave them outside.  I think anyone north of here would have to pick up their pots and bring them inside (just out of the hard freezing), but that would be the extent of your work for the year on them.   As I understand it, you can even just bring them into the house and keep them a bit watered and they'll bloom all year long.   My house plants have said I suck at house plants so I don't even try.

So obviously, if you live in zone 9a and higher I wouldn't plant them in the ground as naturalizing would probably be an understatement, but otherwise I can't think of a more charming, profuse, AND DIFFERENT, shade loving plant.   Makes great hanging baskets because it's habit is about 1-1.5 feet but also the edges tend to sprawl over too as they get heavier, in a small pot this works well, and I have a circle stake in the middle of the big pot to help keep things rounded in the center.

Name: Achemines
Hardy: Zone 9a/8b
Type: Rhizome
Setting: Bright shade. Does not like direct sun, will scorch leaves
Blooming: Late spring til mid fall.
Watering: average, to slightly below average
Multiplies quickly


  1. Lazy gardeners unite!!

    *high five*

  2. Don't know this one. And I love easy plants! And something that will bloom in the shade! I'm sold!

  3. Love the article on this plant and you are right, it is almost unknown in most circles. It is a wonderful carefree shade perennial! Hey, I reposted about this on my Facebook page. Come friend me when you get time.

  4. As a fellow zone-niner, I'm surprised I've never heard of this plant. It's beautiful though, and I expect there are a lot of gardeners out there that have just the perfect slightly-shady spot for it too.

  5. Wow! Sold! I've never seen it, never heard about it, never planted it! Easy AND beautiful? My kind of thing. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I know, its the weirdest thing that its so below the radar... and its not that easy to get, though once you have it, its a great passalong. I do think now is the time to order the rhizomes though, so if you want them, now's the time to track them down.

  7. I'm not surprised I haven't heard of it in our climate but I haven't come across it in the blogosphere either. Isn't it amazing that there are so many plants out there that there's always something new to discover.

  8. Hi Jess. This looks like a wonderful plant-- pretty and tough. I've seen it for sale at one of the nurseries I frequent. I should look into getting one. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.