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PlantFiles: Persian Violet, German Violet
Exacum affine

Family: Gentianaceae (jen-shun-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Exacum (EKS-uh-kum) (Info)
Species: affine (uh-FEE-nee) (Info)

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Ferment seeds before storing
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Wingnut
Thumbnail #1 of Exacum affine by Wingnut

By Wingnut
Thumbnail #2 of Exacum affine by Wingnut

By Floridian
Thumbnail #3 of Exacum affine by Floridian

By htop
Thumbnail #4 of Exacum affine by htop

By grovespirit
Thumbnail #5 of Exacum affine by grovespirit

By iDeal
Thumbnail #6 of Exacum affine by iDeal

By bourboncollection
Thumbnail #7 of Exacum affine by bourboncollection


8 positives
1 neutral
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive spryte On Jun 9, 2012, spryte from Mesa, AZ wrote:

I received a persian violet as a gift for my birthday at work...11 months ago. Evidently, somebody forgot to inform this particular specimen of its short shelf life because it is still alive, healthy and blooming. It's not as compact as it once was and although it blooms continuously throughout the year, the flowers are not as profuse as the initial blooming...but it is still attractive. I live in AZ and keep the plant indoors in an eastern facing window. It receives several hours of direct sun in the morning only. As for watering, occasionally I have arrived for work on Monday to find it I fill the saucer to the brim several times and allow it to suck up as much as it wants. I check the soil daily to make sure it is not dry and if it is, I refill the saucer and let it be. Occasionally I will pluck off the spent blooms...sometimes I shake the plant so that they will fall off...I have never pinched back any growth (although it has spread out a bit and probably could use it). Although neither of us knew exactly what was expected of each other...we seem to be getting along just fine. :)

Positive grrrlgeek On Sep 15, 2009, grrrlgeek from Grayslake, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Very nice fragrance, loves the sun outside in summer.

Positive bourboncollection On Jun 20, 2008, bourboncollection from Vero Beach, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I planted these under a window, in front of a row of crotons, and they have thrived!! Beautiful color, and fairly easy to maintain.

Positive grovespirit On May 6, 2008, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this attractive, inexpensive plant is fragrant!

Its flowers have a subtle sweet fragrance, reminiscent of sweet violets or Texas bluebonnets. :)

Does best indoors, in bright indirect light. I can keep mine alive longer by deadheading spent blooms.

Positive nastynasturtium On May 4, 2007, nastynasturtium from Nantucket, MA wrote:

I've had two of these inside with very little light and they are doing excellent. I deadhead them regularly, and prune to encourage lateral growth. I keep the soil evenly moist. I'd like to put them outside for the summer, and I just did a test of putting one in full sun for a few hours and it began to wilt. I'll put them out in a shady spot soon and hopefully they'll continue doing well.

Positive zarcanat On Mar 16, 2006, zarcanat from Montreal, QC (Zone 4b) wrote:

Actually, it is normal not to be able to keep this plant for a long time as it is a biennial. This means that when it has set some seeds, it will die like true annuals. You could keep it for a longer time by deadheading but I do not know for how long.

Neutral tordog On Jul 15, 2005, tordog from Rothsay, MN wrote:

I'm in West Central Minnesota (Zone 3/4) and just recently bought this little guy at Home Depot. I'm glad to see the notes...because I already have the same fear as "Done Everything to Keep it Alive, but Fail In Spite of My Best Efforts" (or a title to that effect!!) As the flowering that was on it when I purchased it begins to fade, I'm wondering how it will go. I want it as house plant only, so I am really hoping it will survive my best efforts! It really is a pretty little plant. I like the bushiness of it and also find the continual flowering aspect a real +. I indicated "neutral" because I just don't know how it's going to go from here on out. I've had it about 2 weeks.

Negative mkjones On Sep 21, 2004, mkjones from Aurora, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Lovely little plant, but one that I have found is near impossible to keep alive and flourishing for long. This pretty little thing has made my short list of Plants That Die in Spite of My Best Efforts & Study. Ah can't always win. I will continue to linger over the exacum when I see it, and plot in my head as to how I'll keep "THIS one" alive?!

Positive plwiseman On Sep 11, 2004, plwiseman from Midway, TX wrote:

This is a cute little plant. Small pretty blue blooms are on it constantly. I had this plant in a pot out on the patio and when the summer started heating up, it begin to look a little sad. I brought it in and it is doing well. I make sure I keep it watered regularly. This plant has remained rather small but blooms constantly. Its very pretty.

Positive Wingnut On Jun 16, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've had good luck keeping this one alive. I almost lost it when I kept it next to the heater in the greenhouse. Apparently it doesn't like heat, especially dry heat. I trimmed off the dead lookingparts, kept it well watered and in the shade and it's started blooming again. I hope it keeps it up!

Negative KDePetrillo On Jan 24, 2004, KDePetrillo from North Scituate, RI (Zone 6a) wrote:

I think this plant is adorable, but I can't grow it: they always seem to die after they flower.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Kissimmee, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Pukalani, Hawaii
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Midway, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spicewood, Texas

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