Despite its modest size, Exacum is today considered one of the most spectacular indoor crops with abundant flowering. Compact, dense, it captivates with the beauty of its form, the delightful aroma of numerous pretty flowers that dot the bush like a luxurious scattering of precious jewelry. A dense pillow of leaves only emphasizes the beauty of the flowering of this indoor “living bouquet”. Also known as Persian Violet, Exakum is not that easy to care for. But even the status of an indoor annual, a plant that will have to be thrown away after several months of prolonged flowering, does not diminish its popularity and does not detract from the status of a spectacular plant for interior decoration, for which competitors in beauty are difficult to find. Exotic and beautiful, exacum is a plant for experienced flower growers that can compete in beauty with any exotic.
Exacum related, or Persian violet (Exacum affine). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com kupindo
The flawless beauty of Persian violets
Despite the fact that the charming Persian violets are sold here as annuals, in fact, these crops are full-fledged herbaceous biennials. They can also be grown as perennial crops, but, as a rule, after flowering, which lasts all summer and most of autumn, the plant simply dies off, and if it blooms next year, it is only very scarce, it cannot be saved further. Usually exakum blooms magnificently only in the second year, but the wait is fully paid off.
The unique flowers of this culture are simple, pretty, with a bright yellow eye. In addition to the luxurious, very densely packed foliage, they create the impression of an artificial miracle. Of all the living bouquets, exacum is one of the most spectacular crops. He is able to overshadow floral arrangements of any complexity. This plant is not afraid of absolutely any entourage, loves additional pot decor and growing in containers with the most striking design. In any setting and in any room, the Persian violet literally looks like a blooming miracle. And all the long months, while exacum pleases with its flowers, it is literally impossible to look away from it. It is quite easy to understand what lies behind such an atmosphere-forming influence on the interior. Exakum is the very example of an impeccable combination of simplicity and elegance, nobility and harmony, beauty of details without pretentious or catchy, too colorful elements that create an image of absolute perfection. For the Exakum to really look impeccable, it will also need appropriate care.
Exakum (Langloisia) represents a delightfully diverse family, primarily in the beauty of flowers and the richness of the blue palette, the Gentianaceae family. This plant can be found in Malaysia, South and East Asia; by its origin, the exacuma may well be called oriental exotics. In the West, they are considered one of the oldest cultures, known as the German Violet. Despite the fact that among exacums there are both annuals and perennial herbaceous plants, it was short-lived species that became widespread in room culture. These are compact crops, with fairly strong and thin erect shoots and a beautiful mass of lanceolate-heart-shaped leaves with a smooth edge. The flowers are collected in small-flowered clusters of inflorescences, flaunt a simple five-leafed shape with an unusual convex center and captivate with a smell and a rich selection of violet, blue and purple colors.
In room culture, the genus exacum is represented in a single number. The most popular plant of the genus and the calling card of all exacums – Ekzakum related (Exacum affine). It is a magnificent herb that naturally has the ability to bush densely and form strikingly dense bushes. Despite the fact that this handsome man reaches a height of only 30 cm, and the stems are erect, it resembles a dense cushion of greenery. Juicy, with shortened internodes, shoots are densely covered with opposite, cordate, smooth leaves up to 4 cm long, sitting on short petioles. On their surface, with a muted, but beautiful herbaceous green color, three lighter veins appear slightly – the central one and two lateral ones. The edges of the leaf also appear lighter.
The flowers of an exacum related always bloom at the tops of the shoots. It is quite difficult to understand that they are located in thin inflorescences: they seem to be solitary because of the green color of the buds that completely merges with the leaves. The flowers are small, reaching only 1,5 cm in diameter, but the beauty of each individual flower is enhanced by the quantity: the flowers densely cover the entire plant, as if they are evenly scattered over the bush, adding charm to this exotic. The main advantage of the exacum bloom is its impeccable regular shape with 5 round petals, which seem to overlap each other in a spiral, forming a flat corolla. The massive, voluminous anthers of the plant create a very bright center, which, even from afar, is difficult to mistake simply for an eye-spot on the petals. Thick, short and beautiful, they are always sunny yellow and contrast perfectly with the color of the petals. A subtle pleasant aroma is more or less pronounced in varietal plants (the names of varieties usually correspond to color).
Exakum care at home
Ekzakum can hardly be called the most demanding flowering plant for indoor collections. Unlike its competitors, it does not require a cool dormant period with strict temperature control and special conditions in order to please the beauty of the flowers. But the care of the plant must still be thorough. For exakums, it is necessary to strictly control the degree of soil moisture, ensure regular procedures for humidifying the air, monitoring the temperatures of the content and careful examinations.
Problems with maintenance always lead to pest infestation or disease, disruption of flowering and a reduction in its duration. But at the same time, caring for the Persian violet still remains largely standard and does not require any tricks and unusual measures. All that is required of you is to provide the plant with the attention it needs and do not forget to carry out standard procedures in a timely manner. And, of course, choose the required growing strategy. When planning to grow exacum as a perennial, keep in mind that re-flowering will not be able to compete with the first (with any care, wintering mode), it will not repeat the very miracle of a dense bush strewn with flowers. Or maybe the exacum will not bloom at all.
The optimal strategy for growing this biennial is to cultivate it in fact as an abundantly flowering summer plant, with the plant being thrown away immediately after flowering. But at the same time, the exakum is so easy to propagate that replacing the culture for the next year will not leave any difficulty. All the same, the maximum period during which you can enjoy exakum is only 2 years, after which even the greenery will lose its attractiveness.
Lighting for Persian violets
Exakum, like all abundant flowering crops that can single-handedly replace any bouquet, belongs to light-loving plants. But he has one big advantage over other indoor flowers – sun tolerance. Exakum, due to sufficient foliage density and good adaptability even to the brightest locations, tolerates direct sunlight well, with the exception of too hot midday rays during the summer months, from which plants still need to be protected. Accordingly, the southern windowsills, or at least the western and eastern windows, have always been considered the best locations for this culture. In partial shade and locations corresponding to northern windows, this plant will not bloom at all. For exakum during the flowering period, it is desirable to provide stable conditions, not to change the intensity of light, since any reduction in light will directly affect how much your plant will bloom.
This plant needs an average air temperature. The Exakum has no requirements for coolness or other special conditions. It develops best in the temperature range from 17 to 20 degrees Celsius, but adapts well to higher room indicators. Exakum can only withstand the heat outdoors. It is believed that this beautifully flowering plant does not tolerate either too high or low rates. For exakum, even if you keep the plant during the winter, you shouldn’t let the temperature drop below 10 degrees. Moreover, if you want to try to leave the exacum for the next year, then provide it with a wintering regime at a temperature of about 15 degrees with strict control over the lower moisture content of the substrate.
Protect the plant from sudden changes in temperature at any time of the year. It is worth protecting these plants from the flow of hot air from heating devices, especially if the exacum continues to bloom in the fall, when the heating period has already begun. The Persian violet prefers to spend summer outdoors, on an open balcony, terrace or even in a garden. In such locations, this plant not only receives the most comfortable temperatures and lighting, which are difficult to achieve in living rooms, but also one of the main needs of the exakum – access to fresh air will be satisfied. Without it, this charming biennial quickly loses its attractiveness. Ekzakum is very fond of airing, especially during the summer. But in the rest of the year it is necessary to ensure good air exchange in the room. True, the summer itself is better protected from active drafts. The movement of cold air can cause it to shed foliage and even flowers.
Watering and air humidity
The watering schedule for this plant directly depends on the flowering activity, growth intensity and vegetation stage. In spring and summer, especially when kept outside optimal temperatures, the main task of the grower should be to maintain a constant, light soil moisture. Exakum can not be called the most moisture-loving plant, but you should not allow an earthen person to completely dry out. As well as to allow stagnation of water in the pan, excessive watering without controlling the degree of drying out of the substrate.
The next procedure for this handsome man is carried out when a few upper centimeters of the soil are completely dry, but the soil mixture will still remain moist in the middle layer. In winter, watering is reduced in accordance with whether you leave the plant for the winter and at what temperatures it is kept, in accordance with the changed rate of drying out of the substrate. But it is better to always focus on the degree of soil moisture in the pot. The standard frequency of procedures for exakums is 2-3 times a week in the summer. Exacums can be grown in containers with automatic irrigation.
Like almost all beautifully flowering plants, the Persian violet will bloom more abundantly and look more beautiful, the higher the air humidity is provided to it. Exacum does not tolerate dry room air, but it is not at all necessary to create greenhouse conditions, similar to flower showcases. Due to the fact that the Persian violet is content with a daily sprinkling of the leaves, exacum can be grown even in complex arrangements and displayed in the interior, used in serving or as surprisingly beautiful accents without additional measures. Of course, next to the plant, you can install a humidifier or put the pot on a pallet with constantly wet moss, pebbles or expanded clay, decorative glass (so that the bottom of the container does not touch the surface of the water), but such measures are not at all necessary for exakum.
Top dressing for exakum
The fertilization schedule for the Exakum is also fully consistent with its stage of development. Top dressing for this plant is carried out only from March to September, about 2 – 3 times a month, using special fertilizer mixtures for flowering indoor plants or abundant summer plants. Since the plant blooms very intensely, more infrequent feeding may not be comfortable for it, so try to fertilize at a frequency of 10-14 days. Ekzakum does not like foliar feeding and long-acting fertilizers and prefers liquid fertilization.
An important condition for preserving the beauty of the leaves and achieving the longest possible period, during which the exacum will please with an equally abundant scattering, is the removal of wilted flowers. This plant should not be allowed to start seed formation if you want to admire the beauty of flowers until late autumn.
Pruning as such, due to the strong branching of exacums, is generally unnecessary. The only exception is plants that are stored for the next year and left for the winter. In this case, immediately after flowering, at the beginning of the wilting stage, the exacum must be tightly cut to short stumps and transferred to winter conditions. Repeated formative pruning in spring is no longer necessary.
Transplant and substrate
The growing strategy of the plant directly determines whether you need to transplant the exacum at all. If you plan to throw it away immediately after flowering, then you should not worry about any difficulties with changing the substrate and capacity. But if you plan to try to preserve the plant and make it bloom again, then the growing strategy is similar to most indoor plants.
It is worth replanting exacum with the appearance of the first signs of growth in early spring, replacing the substrate for the plant with a new one and providing it with wide, low containers with a powerful drainage layer at the bottom. For exakum, the substrate should be chosen very carefully. It will feel good only in a soil mixture with a slightly acidic or neutral characteristic, pH values from 5,0 to 7,0. The optimal substrate is a mixture based on leafy soil with the addition of three times less sand and sod soil. But you can also use for exacums and a universal substrate intended for decorative flowering plants. The main characteristic of the soil was and remains air permeability, therefore, it is better to improve substrates that are too dense with the addition of perlite or peat. During transplanting, it is necessary to handle the roots of the plant as carefully as possible, removing only free soil and installing the plant while maintaining the same level of deepening.
After transplanting, the Persian violet will need intense air humidification and more frequent spraying to speed up adaptation. Protect this plant from direct sunlight for the first few weeks.
Diseases and pests
Exacums adore indoor pests that settle on this beautifully flowering plant with literally the slightest violation of care and the wrong selection of growing conditions. The reason that plants are affected by spider mites, aphids or mealybugs are always errors in care, in particular, insufficiently high air temperature and constant waterlogging of the substrate.
Common problems in growing exacum:
- yellowing of leaves with waterlogged soil;
- the opened flowers wither, the buds dry up and fall off at low air humidity;
- wilting of shoots with a strong temperature drop;
- wilting of flowers and their rapid fall when the substrate is completely dry in the pot;
- leaf fall at low air humidity.
Exakum, like most annuals and biennials suitable for growing in room culture, propagates quite easily by vegetative methods. But if you wish, you can get abundantly flowering plants from seeds.
Exacum seeds must be sown in late autumn, in June or February in a substrate suitable for this culture, without burying it in the soil, but carefully scattering it over the surface of a moistened and leveled substrate and covering it with film or glass on top. Germination requires stable soil moisture, daily ventilation and very good lighting. On average, the germination process takes about two weeks.
Immediately after you notice young shoots, you need to remove the glass or film. The plants are grown until the second pair of true leaves appears and a height of 2 cm, and then transplanted several pieces into compact pots. When multiplied at the correct time, the exacum will bloom by the next summer.
But a much more popular method for propagating exacum is cuttings. To obtain a new plant, it is enough to cut off the apical shoot, leaving at least 3 internodes on it. Having removed the lower pair of leaves, the cuttings can be rooted both in soil and in water without treatment with growth stimulants. The rooting process itself takes no more than 2 weeks, and even shoots with buds and flowers can form roots.
This is a very convenient way for those who do not plan to preserve the mother bush and, after flowering, simply cut enough cuttings from it to obtain new specimens that will replace the old plant. Thus, every year you will admire the same abundant flowering without much effort. The timing of cutting exacum cuttings is of great importance: it is best to cut the cuttings in early spring, leaving the mother plant for the winter, but you can cuttings at other times.