There is only one known species of Bixa, Bixa orellana. The seeds are used by some tropical Native Americans as a means of producing red body paint.
Achiotes, or Annattos, are small shrubs and trees from the tropics of North and South America. The fruits are inedible, but the seeds produce the pigment and spice Annatto. It can be used as a substitute to the much more expensive spice Saffron.
|Plant Types:||Perennial, Tree, Tropical|
|Height:||22 feet to 30 feet|
|Width:||10 feet to 15 feet|
|Zones:||14a to 15b|
|Bloom Color:||Pink, White|
|Bloom Seasons:||Late summer, Early fall, Mid fall|
|Special Features:||North American native|
|Shape:||Upright or erect, Variable height, Variable spread|
|Fertilizer:||Composted Yard Trimmings, Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food|
|Want to know where Achiote will thrive in your house or garden? The EasyBloom Plant Sensor will give you a plant's-eye view of your environment to measure soil, sunlight, temperature and humidity.||
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Propagate from the seed in spring, at 66-75°F (19-24°C). Can also propagate from semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Semi-ripe cuttings are cuttings taken from semi-mature wood.
The fruit itself is inedible, but the seeds can be made into a dye that is often used to color food. The seeds are sold in powder or paste form.
Evergreen tree. Grows well in rich soils with full sun. Less hardy plants should be raised in a warm greenhouse. A warm greenhouse has a minimum temperature of 55°F (13°C). During the day, temperatures should be set to 55-64°F (13-18°C) or above, and at night, the temperature should be at 55°F (13°C). In warmer areas, grow Bixa as a hedge or ornamental tree for the flowers and seeds.
From late summer to fall, blooms open cup-shaped, 5-petaled flowers, followed by bristly bright red or dark pink fruit. The fruit contain numerous dark red seeds. The flowers are a great source of nectar, and thus attract honeybees.
Does well in fertile, humus-rich loam that is well-draining. Soil-based potting mixes work well for indoor plants. Water freely during the growing season, less in winter.
Grows best in fertile, rich soils.
Clip hedges in early spring before the new growth season. Trim wayward shoots or shoots that are ruining symmetry, after the flowering period. Deadhead if necessary in midspring.
Some problems include powdery mildew, algal leaf spot, and fungal leaf spots.