Exacum (Exacum) is a plant that belongs to the gentian family and is distributed mainly in the countries of East and South Asia. This representative of herbaceous plants is annual, biennial and even perennial. Exakum blooms with inflorescences of fragrant blue or purple flowers, has erect stems and dark green leaves resembling the shape of hearts.
Since the exacum plant is light-loving, direct sunlight is not dangerous for it. The only exceptions are hot summer days, when the midday sun can still burn the plant. Therefore, during this period it does not hurt to shade the herbaceous plant a little, because in the summer it is recommended to keep the exacum outdoors.
During the rest of the months, the houseplant will feel comfortable on the windowsill anywhere in the house. True, on the window on the north side of the house, the plant, most likely, will not bloom.
The temperature regime is of no small importance for the full growth and development of the plant. It is recommended to keep the exakum in strict temperature limits - from 17 to 20 degrees Celsius. The plant can die at lower and higher temperatures.
Like many indoor plants, Exacum is no exception and prefers high humidity. Since plants in most cases are located on windowsills near heating systems, it is necessary to spray the plant abundantly and regularly. Daily moistening by spraying can be enhanced by using a flower tray, in which there will be moistened expanded clay.
The regularity and abundance of watering exacum depends on the season. In winter, watering is minimal, in the rest of the year - plentiful. Do not allow the soil to dry out in the pot.
Any universal soil purchased in a retail network or prepared independently is suitable for growing exacum. The composition of the soil should include sand and turf soil (one part) and leafy soil (three parts).
From the beginning of spring to the end of summer, exacum must be fed with special fertilizers for indoor flowering plants at least twice a month.
One-year exacum does not require transplanting, but other species, as they grow, need to be transplanted into a wider and smaller flower pot. It is very important that there is a drainage layer at the bottom of the container.
The indoor flower exacum is easily propagated by cuttings from the top of the plant, which, after 10-15 days, start up young roots, and it is equally good in water and in the ground.
Exakum can also be propagated by seeds that need to be sown in the autumn and create greenhouse conditions for them before the emergence of young shoots.
Diseases and pests (for example, gray rot or aphids) can appear if watering rules are not followed and the temperature is violated in a room with a houseplant.
The family includes a large number of species and varieties. One of the most common is Exakum related. This species has erect stems, and the whole plant reaches up to 30 centimeters in height. The plant looks lush and solemn thanks to well-branched shoots with a large number of leaves (about 3-4 centimeters in length) of a rich green color with lighter veins in the center and along the edge of the leaf. Fragrant and beautiful purple inflorescences of several small flowers (about 1.5 centimeters in diameter) grow abundantly and densely. Depending on the variety, the color of the flowers can be blue, light blue, lilac and white with bright yellow stamens.
• herbaceous plants common in tropical Africa, South and East Asia, and the Malay Archipelago
• in culture, predominantly - Ekzakum related (Exacum affine)
Genus Exakum (Exacum) belongs to the gentian family (Gentianaceae) and includes 70 species of plants growing in tropical Africa, Madagascar, tropical and subtropical Asia.
The genus name is a variant of the Gallic plant name exacon for centtaurium.
These are annual herbaceous plants or juveniles with branched, bare stems. Leaves are opposite. Inflorescences are axillary or apical panicles. Flowers are 4- or 5-partite. The corolla is wheel-shaped, the lobes of the corolla limb are longer than the tube. The fruit is a bivalve warty capsule with numerous seeds.
In a pot culture, one species is predominantly grown:
Exakum related (Exacum affine) - originally from Yemen (endemic to the Socotra archipelago), where it usually grows in rocky places. Has a common name Persian violet.
Annual or short-lived perennial plant of rounded habit, 15-30 cm high, with thick stems. Leaves are opposite, broadly ovate or triangular-oval leaves up to 3.5 cm long, thick, shiny, dark green, densely covering the stems. The flowers are five-partite, purple, with yellow anthers, fragrant. Abundant flowering in spring and summer.
Can only be grown outdoors in humid tropical or subtropical climates. Indoors, it is usually grown as an annual, although it can grow for 2 years, but in the second year the flowering is not so lush.
There are forms with white, lavender, light purple and double flowers.
There are two more types of exakum worth mentioning. These are very decorative species with beautiful large flowers in paniculate inflorescences.
Exakum large-flowered (Exacum macranthum) - the most spectacular of the exacums, with large blue flowers. Biennial, therefore, not suitable for indoor culture.
Exakum three-core (Exacum trinervium), or Ceylon exakum - endemic to Sri Lanka.
Annual 50-100 cm high with elliptical or oblong, pointed leaves with 3 veins at the base of the leaf, and blue flowers in the apical and axillary inflorescences. Grown indoors.
Exacum related is a charming plant that forms a rounded bush with thick thick leaves and many small five-petalled flowers of lilac or white color. It is known all over the world under the name Persian violet for its purple flowers and light violet, sweetish aroma.
Description of the plant - on the page Exakum.
It can be purchased in the spring or grown from seeds by sowing in January. The plant is usually cultivated as an annual and is thrown away with wilting in the fall. But it can be kept until next year, although the second bloom will no longer be so abundant. The plant has not been used for more than two years, because it is a short-lived perennial.
When buying, it is better to choose specimens with unbudged buds in order to fully enjoy future flowering. Flowers appear throughout the season, from spring to autumn, if the wilted ones are pinched off and the seeds are not allowed to set.
Caring for the plant is simple, the most important thing is to monitor the moisture content of the soil every day, not letting it dry out or dry out.
Priming... The primer for exakum is light, loose. Ekzakum loves slightly acidic soil, soil for Saintpaulias, containing perlite, with the addition of chopped sphagnum, is suitable for it.
You can make up a suspension for exakum from the following components: sod land: leaf land: humus: peat (1: 1: 1: 1). Soil pH - 5.5-6.0.
Transfer... Usually, due to the short life span, the plant does not require transplanting. However, after the acquisition, it is worth carefully removing the lump from the pot and, if the roots completely braided it and went in a circle at the bottom, gently spread them and transplant the plant into a shallow pot one size larger, ensuring good drainage. If the earthen lump is not fully developed, it is better not to replant the plant.
Lighting... Ekzakum loves bright, diffused light. It should be protected from direct sunlight. Strong UV rays can damage the delicate plant, so it is best to keep it near a bright window. It is possible to place the plant on shaded south windows, but western windows are the most suitable, where the plant receives the evening sun. In the shade, the plant stretches strongly, loses its compactness and decorative effect. For the summer, the exakum can be transferred to the gazebo or to the terrace, protecting it from the rain.
Temperature... The plant prefers cool conditions, the optimal room temperature is + 18 ... +24 o C. It should be avoided from drafts and the heat of the batteries, but the plant loves fresh air. The minimum temperature that a plant can tolerate for a short time is + 10 ° C, the maximum temperature is + 26 ° C.
Watering... The more sunny a plant has, the more often it will have to be watered. The soil should always remain moist, only the top layer may dry out. In this case, overmoistening should not be allowed, because the plant is susceptible to root rot. A sure sign of root rot is leaf wilting and rotting of the bottom of the stems. The plant also quickly reacts to drying out by wilting, as a result of which it is easy to lose the plant. It is best to check soil moisture daily.
Air humidity... Ekzakum needs high air humidity, not less than 50%. Place the pot on a tray of damp expanded clay and spray the plant with water daily. Better yet, use a humidifier.
Top dressing... Ekzakum is fed with a liquid complex mineral fertilizer for flowering indoor plants with microelements every 2 weeks. Sustained-release fertilizers should not be used, because the plant has a short growing season and does not have time to assimilate them.
Pinching... It is advisable to pinch young plants to enhance tillering and the formation of a larger number of buds.
One of the conditions for prolonging the life of a plant is the removal of faded flowers. If they remain on the plant, they quickly set seeds and the plant withers. To prolong its life and flowering, remove the replacing flowers.
Bloom. Exakum blooms from late spring for several weeks. But if you remove faded flowers in time, preventing the seeds from being tied, then flowering will last until autumn.
Dormant period... After flowering in autumn, the foliage begins to turn yellow and the plant enters a dormant stage. Stop watering the plant and move it to a cool room with moderate lighting. It will take 2 months until it is completely dry, and the aboveground part is completely dry. After that, cut the plant, remove the tuber from the soil and transplant it into a pot one size larger, filled with soil with the addition of chopped sphagnum. The top half of the tuber should be visible on the surface. Store at + 16 ° C. Don't water until leaves appear next season. Then place it by the window and start watering. In the second year, the flowers are smaller and less abundant.
Pests... Exakum is susceptible to aphids and spider mites.