HOW TO GROW EXACUM AFFINE (Persian violet)

10 deg C/50 deg F

This charming little plant might be more appropriately called Arabian violet. since it originates from the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea. It is an annual or biennial, and sold in autumn or in spring. Several plants are grown in small pots to give a more bushy and compact effect, and the height should be about 23cm (9in).

The flowers are small, but freely produced. They are mauve with yellow centres, and violet-like in shape. The most notable feature – which makes them readily saleable – is their exquisite spicy scent. However, in attempts to breed more compact and larger-flowered plants, this scent has. in some seed strains, been lost. Fortunately, a well-known seed firm has recently introduced a specially-raised strain called ‘Starlight Fragrance’ which has all the desirable characteristics as well as an excellent and distinctive scent. This is a temporary houseplant. and should be bought when just coming into flower. Keep the pots nicely moist, in a congenially warm room out of draughts. and shaded. The flowers should then give pleasure for several weeks, after which the plants can be discarded. This is an easy plant to raise as an annual on your window-sill, making the sowings in spring. Choose the seed strain mentioned, and place about live seedlings to each 13cm (5 in.) pot. Pinch out the tips of each seedling to encourage branching growth.

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