Growing Exacum: How To Care For The Persian Violet

Exacum affine (EKS-uh-kum uh-FEE-nee), more often known as the Persian violet, is a lovely flowering house plant, but it isn’t a genuine violet.

Instead, it belongs to the Gentianaceae family and more closely resembles the impatiens of the garden type.

Growing Exacum AffinePin

It is native to Yemen but has become a common greenhouse plant because of its widespread appeal and cultivation. 

Although Exacum affine is a biennial, it is commonly handled as an annual and discarded after flowering.

Violet-blue 5-petaled flowers with yellow centers, known as eyes, stand above a mound of small, glossy green leaves. The blossoms have a beautiful scent. 

White or purple flowers are rarer types, and a few have double blooms.

Exacum affine is more commonly known as:

  • Arabian Gentian
  • German Violet
  • Persian Violet

Quick Facts On Exacum Affine

  • Family: Gentianaceae
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Temperature: Mild temperatures between 60° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water: Consistently moist, with room temperature water
  • Fertilizer: Weekly with liquid fertilizer
  • Propagation: Seed
  • Common Problems: Root rot, aphids, spider mites

Exacum Affine Care

How Big Do Persian Violet Plants Grow?

German Violet plants grow to be around 6″ to 12″ inches tall, with lush foliage and tiny green leaves covering most of the stems.

When Does German Violet Flower? Are the Flowers Fragrant?

The German Violet plant has several small, ovate, glossy dark green leaves.

And the fragrant, star-shaped blue-violet flowers with golden centers frequently bloom in the spring and summer, though reblooming in the fall is feasible under ideal growth circumstances.

Although the Exacum Affine plant is not true violet, its delicate blooms are comparable in color and scent to wild violets.

In addition, the blossoms have a lovely sweet perfume that fills the area with a fresh garden scent and atmosphere.

What Are The Lighting Needs and Temperature Requirements?

These flowers do best in mild temperatures between 60° and 75° degrees Fahrenheit. 

They can withstand warmer temperatures with enough moisture and shade, but a cold snap can rapidly destroy them.

Protect your Persian violets from drafts and air blowing from heaters and air conditioners.

Furthermore, Persian violets require at least 50% percent humidity to thrive.

Place a potted plant on a tray loaded with pebbles and water to increase the humidity surrounding it.

However, ensure the pot’s bottom does not touch the water, as this can cause root rot. 

A humidifier in the room can help it thrive. Optimal humidity will help your plant blossom for longer.

Persian Violets enjoy being in the sun but are wary of direct sunlight in the summer. 

When growing and caring for Persian violets, they can be placed in a sunny location, such as a south window sill, but in summer, they need proper shade.

With lots of indirect light, the Persian violet thrives and blossoms.

How And When To Water And Fertilize Persian Violets?

Persian violets prefer damp but not soggy soil. They also like water at average temperature, as cold water might shock them.

Overwatering makes them particularly susceptible to root rot. On the other hand, if they are thirsty, they will quickly wilt.

So if your violet is withering even though the soil is moist, you’re probably overwatering it. 

Feed your Persian violet using a liquid fertilizer formulated for blooming plants, following the package directions.

Use a quick-release fertilizer, as the Persian violet won’t live long enough to slowly benefit from the nutrients released.

What Is The Best Soil For Exacum Affine, And When Should You Transplant?

Exacum Affine plants naturally thrive in rocky soil. However, they grow in a wide range of soil types as long as they have adequate drainage.

They also prefer a slightly acidic pH in the soil. An African violet potting mix is perfectly suitable for potted Persian violets.

It’s preferable to keep the violet in its nursery pot and cultivate it as a container plant.

If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, carefully remove the plant and place it in a slightly larger container than its root ball and has plenty of drainage holes.

The majority of Persian violets do not require repotting. Many individuals, however, discover that the plants they purchase in garden centers are already root-bound.

Plants in this situation will grow slower and blossom less vigorously than those in proper space. 

In addition, the plant is likely root-bound if roots grow out of the top or bottom of the container.

In this scenario, gently slide it out of the container and plant it in a slightly larger pot with fresh potting soil at the same depth. Then water the plant to hydrate the soil equally.

Does Exacum Affine Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

As the blooms fade, remove them. Deadheading maintains the plant and may encourage more blooms.

Regularly trimming the plant fosters the development of more side shoots and flowers while reducing the need for the plant to establish a more extensive root system.

Because the roots are in such a small region, this is critical.

If you want to overwinter the Exacum Affine, vigorously prune it back and keep it above 60° degrees Fahrenheit. 

How To Propagate Persian Violets?

It’s feasible to start German Violets from scratch. However, growing these plants from seed might take up to 6 months. Germination is also a challenge.

Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Start growing from seed in January if you want to attempt it.
  • In a propagating tray, fill with good potting soil and scatter the fine seeds on top.
  • To preserve the moisture in the tray, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a warm location with plenty of light.
  • You should have seedlings in about a month if you’re lucky. 
  • Place them in a larger pot with care, keeping each seedling at least five inches away from the others.

Exacum Affine Pests And Diseases 

Arabian Gentians aren’t particularly susceptible to pests, except aphids and spider mites.

However, always examine the plant for leaf damage and webbing, and address any problems as quickly as possible.

Cylindrocarpon is the fungus that causes root rot. The fungus thrives in moist, spongy environments.

Overwatering or soil that can’t drain correctly can cause these problems. Root rot is devastating to Arabian Gentians. 

Suggested Persian Violet Uses 

Persian Violet plants can be grown outdoors (in hardiness zones 5 through 11) and indoors. 

Because the Persian violet prefers bright light but not direct sunlight, it’s best to keep it near a window. In addition, they prefer cooler rooms with more humidity. A cooler room will ensure the flowers bloom for 3 to 4 months.

If you want to plant it outside, it will thrive best in a container, maintaining the appropriate soil and temperature.