Mass plantings of the tall type make a nice border for the back of your beds, whereas the shorter variety makes a lovely edging plant. Let’s learn more about this lovely but divisive plant, and why Floridians want nothing to do with it! On the Mexican petunia, lavender-blue flowers present themselves in mid-spring and continuously emerge until the cold weather arrives. Hydrate the plant the evening before you move it. How do… Read more ». Trim out any dead leaves and remove dead flowers for aesthetic purposes. The tall version forms clumps 18 inches across, while the short type forms 12-inch clumps. This has made this part of it brown. How can I remedy the long ones? It’s particularly good to get first-hand verification that they are appealing to pollinators and hummingbirds. Is your plant crowded at all? Assessed using the Infraspecific Taxon Protocol (ITP). But mostly they just sit there all winter, looking fine. Strip off any leaves near the bottom of the stem, and remove the bloom. Hi Jackie – To be safe, I’d definitely winter it indoors. I’m in a subdivision so I doubt a deer wandered in. Second, have you applied any fertilizer? If so, you can encourage it to bloom by dividing or thinning it. Edit: Then I noticed Rob’s mentioning that, as well. It gets morning sun and afternoon shade facing the east. You can simply pull stray plants. The plant will probably be fine without any extra TLC. When I purchased my plant it has beautiful purple flowers. You will be happy and the plants will be happy! White and Walker 1997 The ability to withstand a wide range of water depths To ensure survivability under seasonal flooding and drought conditions Sheley et al. Like its namesake, Mexican petunia blossoms are quite similar to the annual, petunia, but the two are unrelated. Cut them back/down? Narrow, dark green leaves to 3 inches long, inches wide; 2 inches-long, lavender-blue flowers throughout warm times of year. You also might want to use this plant to add some color to shady areas. If so, how far down? When do I transplant? Simply so easy to grow & so nice to look at. You may be able to order them through a local nursery or online purveyor. My landscape garden is close to 2 years old and I still love these pesky petunias. Native to Mexico and western South America, Ruellia simplex, also known as R. tweediana, R. brittoniana, R. coerulea, and R. malacosperma, is cold hardy to USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11.Although there has been confusion over the plants’ proper name since a German botanist named them in 1879, most horticulturists now refer to them as R. tweediana. It typically grows to 3-4 tall in the wild, but to 2-3 tall in gardens. In the last 20 years, Mexican petunia (Ruellia simplex) has gone from being relatively uncom… I am trying to dig them out – do they have root stems with a sort of garlic looking bulbous growth on the stem? Mexican petunia (Ruellia simplex C. Wright) is an ornamental plant species popular in southeastern landscapes and gardens. It was introduced to Florida in the 1940s. Mexican-petunia (also known as Mexican bluebell or Britton’s petunia) is described as a “hardy perennial edging plant for flower beds and as colorful groundcovers.” Scientific names include Ruellia brittoniana, R. coerulea and R. tweediana, but taxonomists now use the name Ruellia simplex, which was the first name used to describe this species. It’s about 3′ tall and has bloomed every day – until 4 months ago when it just stopped. Mike, that sounds like a frustrating situation! It has been in… Read more ». There is a dwarf variety that is only 1 ft (0.30 m) tall. Hello Donna. $19.99. Mexican native naturalized in many areas of the southern and southwestern U.S. To 3 feet high; initially 11 feet wide, but can be invasive and should be contained (by an edging, for example). Hahaha regarding the East Texas soil, btw. I’m afraid southern Ohio is probably a bit too cold to winter this plant outdoors, even if you give it lots of mulch/protection. The first cold front hit Dallas (mid-October ) – so mine just finished blooming for the year. Vickey in Katy, TX. Ruellia simplex. Tommy, I’m not sure where you are, but if you are in Florida where it is a big problem I suggest try the Florida native Wild Petunia instead. Wow! I can picture the blooms in the pool, btw! Ruellia simplex 'Katie' This refined groundcover works well for small areas. That encourages them to produce lush leaves and few or no blooms. Ruellia simplex, commonly called Mexican petunia or Texas petunia, is a vigorous, shrubby, woody-based, rhizomatous perennial that is grown as an annual north of USDA Zone 8. I moved from DFW to East Texas with just sand as my “pretend” soil. Thanks to its sweet purple flowers, however, we come down firmly on the pro-ruellia side of the debate. In Austin, I do nothing to mine for winter. The foliage looks good. I live in Southwest Oklahoma and I absolutely LOVE my purple Mexican petunias. Mine has too much shade, I’m wanting to move to a sunny spot USA, Tennessee. One question – after they have died off in the winter – do you pull them up or cut them down – what’s the best method to get ready for the spring? I have kept it in a large pot on my sunny back patio. WHITE Pampas Grass Perennial Ornamental 1 Live Plant. Agreed, which is why it is classified as a Category I Invasive plant in Florida. My favorite plant!!! Best grown as a container plant and given shelter during frosty weather. Instead, per Dr. Doug Caldwell of the UF/IFAS Extension, you may have eriophyid mites (Acalitus ruelliae). It’s that its crowding out our native plant species and harming the environment. Mexican petunia (Ruellia simplex) is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland and is of particular concern in the south-eastern parts of this state, where it was recently ranked among the 200 most invasive plant species. They are planted in shade and receive plenty of water. I now have a massive border of my own that blooms continually spring through late fall in the South Central Texas sunshine. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may have to go online to purchase varieties other than what your local stores carry. $12.99. Sadly, each lovely flower lasts just a day. They can be defeated in the home landscaping, but it takes a great deal of patience to knock them back. Plant one to two seeds for each expected plant, spaced 12 inches apart. And feedback would be great! ... 10 MEXICAN PETUNIA RUELLIA BRITTONIANA PERENNIAL PLANTS SHRUB GARDEN LANDSCAPE. Only the Purple and Pink ones have darker stems. I have both high and ground cover. Is this true? Hi Adrienne! So far I’ve been hand pulling the ones in the lawn. The stone pillar in the background is over 6 feet!! Mexican Petunia – Ruellia brittoniana. Be sure to keep the soil moist. They come back in early spring, and boom all summer. I used Osmocote 15-9-12. Try the native Wild Petunia instead. Thank you! Papa dug a hole and stuck it in the ground. They bloomed all last year. You will receive 3 fresh cuttings, 10-12 inches long cuttings of easy to grow Petunias, a/k/a White Petunias, Ruellia, Mexican petunias, White Showers, Mexican bluebells, Britton's wild petunia, Ruellia simplex, Ruellia angustifolia, Ruellia brittoniana, Cryphiacanthus angustifolius. How do I keep them contained or get rid of. Fertilizer formulas such as this one that contain more nitrogen (N) than phosphorus and potassium (P and K) can lead to lush, leafy growth with few flowers. My husband did cut it back to the ground each winter and every spring it would come back bigger and better, blooming those lovely purple blooms. We have planted them in a flower bed and they are getting tall. If you want to grow them in containers, that’s an option as well. These started growing along my drive way, I like them there, but notice they are trying to spring up across my driveway, into the lawn. This is indeed a vigorous grower with invasive tendencies that may not be appreciated by all. Are your white flowers still purple or pink in the center? And I feel like the sun was probably okay, since they’re not particular about that, but it shouldn’t hurt them to be in a sunnier spot, either. ‘Chi Chi’ is a popular pink cultivar often found at plant centers. I am hoping this is an easy fix. I love the lacy leaves. I’m going to have to cut it back and dig some out to keep it in bounds…it goes where it wants. The pot gets a good 6 hours of sun a day? I live in No. To 3 feet high and wide, with oval, dark green leaves to 6 inches long. Now it’s very sandy soil and I think nutrient poor. A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. Sow R. simplex seeds in early spring, after all danger of frost has passed. Easy to care for and great for use as coverage, ruellia plants offer unique beauty to landscape areas. You’re right, they can get aggressive in the right conditions. Do you know which cultivar you planted, Kimberly? Hello Gwynne – Look for selections that offer pink or white flowers. I live in southern Ohio and purchased this at Home Depot. Alba (sometimes sold as White Flower Form) produces hundreds of pure white blooms from June through September. Mine did very well blooming the first 2 years so guess they are crowded so will thin them next spring. I didnt really notice the undergrowth until one day, then I gently removed it but found gaping spaces. Thanks for reading. I cannot say I am an expert on elephant ears, but a bit of quick research indicates that these plants are heavy feeders and like rich soil. It was beautiful and soon bloomed lots of purple flowers for a few months and then started to dry, then started to look better and grew some new green leaves, but recently has turned brown and soggy and just a few little green leaves left. Answer: You now have Mexican petunia, Ruellia simplex. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. You can also start indoors 8 weeks before the last frost if you want to have blossoms earlier in the year. I love the plant! Do I cut them down? The plant is native to Mexico and South America, and has naturalized in Hawaii and from South Carolina to Texas, where gardeners appreciate it greatly. I had them in Florida and now Georgia. We grow these in west central Ohio. I live in Naples, Fl. How much sun do they get? Several cultivars are available, with the distinguishing characteristic typically being flower color. However, as alluded to above, it is considered invasive in Florida. Deadhead them and keep pulling to keep them under control, or you may want to use them as a container specimen instead. I wonder if it was placed in the wrong area because I assumed it was a houseplant. Interestingly, the stem of this plant becomes more purple when it’s in bright light, as opposed to when it’s grown in a shady area, where the stem stays fairly green. It has a tendency to crowd out native Florida species, and so local horticulturists strongly warn against its use. Grows about 3 feet tall to 30 inches when in flower. The next morning, before the heat of the day, dig it out and transplant it. Ruellia simplex, or Mexican petunia, is a herbaceous evergreen perennial of the Acanthaceae family.It is sometimes named Ruellia brittoniana, but R. simplex is preferred, as it is the name first given to the plant when described in Cuba. Ruellia simplex (MAYAN WHITE) Share. Central Phoenix -- Katie blue Ruellia brittoniana is a very tough plant. Here’s what we’ll tackle in this article: If you live in Florida, you’re certainly excused from reading this article, though you might want to check below for a cultivar that is safe to grow in your region. Suggestions? Floridians notwithstanding, gardeners in the southern United States would do well to add this purple-blooming beauty to their gardens. It grows in the ground in our garden in a harsh location -- a narrow bed between a concrete walk and a brick patio, in full sun in summer and partial shade in winter. Are you in the pro- or anti-ruellia camp? The tops of a few of my vincas were also eaten off. It’s in full sun. Floridians, if you’re still with us, you should choose the cultivar ‘Purple Showers,’ which is sterile and does not produce seed. What a fabulous solution, Emily. Is the soil well-draining? You might need to add a phosphorus-heavy fertilizer and see if that increases blooming. Ruellia are hardy and half hardy perennial sub shrubs that reach from 30 to 90 cm in height.. Spectacular dwarf variety of this easy to grow, heat-tolerant perennial is loaded with light pink flowers through out the warm season. Yes they spread but I love how they show up in the craziest places. So if you’re new to your garden, try these – you will be successful!! Picking and Harvest Tips, How to Choose the Best Halloween Pumpkins to Grow in Your Garden, 11 of the Best Pumpkins to Grow for Pies, Puree, and Other Treats, 8-11 (marginally hardy in Zone 7 with protection), Butterflies (swallowtail, brush-footed, and milkweed) and hummingbirds, Don’t plant in full sun if the heat is brutal where you live, Give the plant extra water right after you plant it. But not this year. R. simplex doesn’t have any notable insect pest or disease concerns to worry about, either. Helleborus TROPICAL SUNSET Lenten Rose Flower Hellebore Plant Perennial. The flowers are pretty but the plants themselves are spindly. I cut them back and within a month they have grew back over the fence in the front yard. Both overwatering and underwatering can cause yellow leaves. To me, that makes it so you don’t have to worry as much when you decide to prune or transplant, since you can always take some cuttings first and have them as a backup if anything goes wrong. I have some along my front fence, some in a front flowerbed, and two very large pots on my back porch and all have done just great. Yes! just cut them down to the ground. While most standard forms of Mexican petunia range in height from 18 to 36 inches, ‘Katie’s Dwarf’ ranges from eight to 12 inches tall. Or don’t. But you could leave it outdoors if you put a heavy layer of mulch on it and it would rebloom in the spring. As with most plants, you’ll want to treat them to regular, deep waterings immediately after transplanting, which you’ll do in springtime, and then you can back off the watering if you like. $8.00 shipping. Ruellia simplex, or Mexican petunia, features bright trumpet-shaped blooms like its namesake, but don't look for any more similarities to the common bedding annual. See our TOS for more details. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It all sounds lovely! Though most common in Texas, they're quickly making inroads into the rest of the South, especially among gardeners who want lots of bloom with little fuss. I love anything that’s easy to propagate. Pull them all the way up, roots and all, and dispose of them. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu. I agree, Tommy. Thank you! Hi Deb…. No worries! US (Upper South) / Zone 6, MS (Middle South) / Zone 7, LS (Lower South) / Zone 8, CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9, TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10, TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11, Southern Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. It’s in our pond as a centerpiece. Common Names. Prepare a clean four-inch pot with a mix of perlite and peat moss and moisten the mixture. zones 7-8- 9 they can be container grown and moved indoors during cold winter weather. The Mexican Petunia is classified as a Category I Invasive in FL due to its tendency to get out of control and be very difficult to eradicate. They are almost impossible to control or eradicate, so I suggest planting them where you can keep them controlled, like in a pot. They have dine great and it is so nice to have a plant that is not in everyone else’s garden! So, what is ruellia and can this Mexican native be cultivated in our own home garden landscape? This means that it can escape from home gardens and spread into natural areas where it crowds out native species. Often confused with Ruellia tweediana, but its leaves are a bit shorter and wider. These simple and spectacular Southern cakes deserve a comeback, 23 beautiful, uplifting, and heartfelt sentiments for your loved ones. After transplanting, be sure to maintain consistent moisture. Lift out the clump and, using a shovel, slice the crown of the plant into several pieces. It is not infecting other plants. There’s a decent chance that they need thinning to get back to blooming. Hi bbkahlich! It will not spread by runners, but does spread by seed. We’ve had a hot summer. Scientifically, it’s been labeled R. brittoniana, R. coerulea, R. malacosperma, and R. tweediana, though today’s taxonomists are in agreement that R. simplex is the correct moniker. At the same height. Ruellia, also known as Mexican petunia, is one of those annoying little plants that walks the line between being a beautiful ornamental and an incredibly noxious weed. I’d err on the side of caution, because you’re right, it’s too pretty to kill! COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Haha! I like the leaf form, also. These plants are drought-tolerant once they’re established, but it’s a good idea to baby them a bit if they’re recent plantings. Any ideas of what went wrong? They just look straggly. What is going on? Product photos via liveplantflower, SVI, andlvrgarden. It’s not on the menu for deer, but if these graceful herbivores are helping themselves to other plants in your garden, check out this article about protecting your plants. Besides larger herbivores (which sometimes like to munch on these, but more often than not, they will pass them up in favor of other options), caterpillars will also eat Mexican petunias, and several species of butterflies use them as a host plant. We bought a plant in NC last autumn and we divided and rooted them over the winter for outdoor planting. They have brightened up may lower… Read more ». However, the plant does even better in wet conditions (hello, Florida!). I would be grateful for any help understanding what happened. It’s not just that some Floridians “don’t like it”. No special care needed. Ruellia simplex Mexican petunia plants require the warmth of Zone 8 to 12 to flourish. I have had a heck of a time getting them out of my front garden. Data used in the Infraspecific Taxon Protocol was from limited-duration studies. Place your transplants into holes the same depth as the root balls of your clumps and twice as wide. They can take a few years before they start really spreading. I’m in the pro camp. And for more information on plants that thrive in the shade, check out these guides next: Photos by Gretchen Heber © Ask the Experts, LLC. Get more details about dividing perennials here. Hello! I love that you were trying to help your green-thumb-gone-wild mom. You’re just far enough north of us here in Austin that a slightly different care routine is in order. While it is tempting to assume you have a case of powdery mildew, and recommend treatment with a fungicide, it may not be fungus at all. This is a vigorous grower that does get woody brown stems. Ours bloomed it’s first year, just beautifully. Florida. You may apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer in spring. Never saw it before, but I see it in other yards. I would like to leave it outdoors but dont want to kill it. To divide this plant, loosen the soil around the area, and then dig around the clump you wish to excise. They are pretty but we don’t want the whole garden covered by them. Diane, are your ruellia spreading too vigorously? It sounds like you planted a purple type that was pollinated, and the seeds that developed have slightly different genetics than the parent plants – with white flowers instead. Hello Bonnie Hauge. Love my Mexican petunias but the leaves are turning yellow. We planted them as a border in our front garden and they completely took over. With forms tall and short, this evergreen, herbaceous perennial – suitable for growers in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11 – deserves consideration for inclusion in southern gardens. Deadhead the spent flowers before they can produce seeds, or cut off the seed pods before they burst open and reseed on all… Read more ». It’s so cool it’s worth mentioning many times! The small flowers last a day. The trendy haircuts you’ll be seeing everywhere next year. Good luck! Now that I know they can live in shade, I’m going to dig them up and move them to the shade garden I’m putting in! I look forward to trying them out!!! I am a realtor in Florida and have several out of state investors who buy/own duplexes or small SFHs and most of the time the garden beds are empty or weeds so I always tell them to plant a couple of these plants and within a day (if you buy them a foot tall or so) or even a few weeks if you buy them smaller, their gardens will be colorful, and the tenants do not have to take care of them because they take care of themselves basically. Of course, if your R. simplex spreads too far and wide, you can excise the metastasizing plants. Make a two-inch-deep hole in the potting mix with a pencil. I have bought more plants for the gaps. Here is more about what we do. Expect it to take some time to bounce back. Please Note: White Petunias have green stems. Did your plants just not shoot up at all? There, like a septuagenarian Minnesotan in January, it has populated freely, and the locals RUE(llia) the day it was introduced. Cover the roots with dirt and water thoroughly; continue to water well for several weeks until well-established. A plant that is moved during the growing season experiences more shock than one that is moved as it’s going into winter dormancy. It doesn’t seem to have worked the first time around (sorry about that!). It is drought tolerant, and in fact, throughout our brutal Central Texas summers, I give mine nary a drop of supplemental water and they do just fine. Or they’re just not spreading? Found out they are invasive. Barbara, that sounds frustrating! The flowers resemble small, thin-textured petunias. The large, petunia-like blooms are backed by dense clumps of narrow, dark … I also want to make sure you haven’t applied a nitrogen-rich fertilizer this season. As with so many of our favorite botanicals, this one comes with a host of aliases. I happily yank and transplant often and they are so hardy. Mexican petunia spreads naturally by both seeds – it can spew the small brown discs as far as ten feet – and rhizomes. Great to know, Elise! Purple Showers Mexican Petunia is sterile and so it can spend more energy on an endless supply of beautiful … I have this plant but very few blooms. Ruellia simplex ‘R10-108’ Conclusions by Zone. There main blooming period is from Spring to summer, but many Ruellia will also … Selection is popular in Central Texas as a ground cover for light shade. I have the purple ones. They should come back in the spring. I’ve had them about 45 days and no I have not fertilized them. Or maybe could they be started earlier indoors and moved outdoors? Should we braid them? But I’m afraid cutting them back only encourages them. My 4-year-old (at the time we planted) granddaughter got a small cutting from her Sunday School teacher. Could Mexican Petunias be grown as an annual in the north (zones4/5) and would they have time to bloom if grown from seed? Soil low in phosphorus, in particular, can cause plants to not bloom. Yes! Reassess in two years. Purple Showers is sterile and produces no seed but spreads aggressively by roots. Try thinning it out if that’s the case. So, it is actually not maintenance free since if they are not kept in check (with constant pulling of the root system, not just the portion of the plant above ground), they will spread everywhere there is not a paved surface. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. I live in NC. Gretchen, After the frost has killed the plant….how do I care for them? There is a white growth all over my Houston ruellia — on the tall and the dwarf. The plant is named for Jean de la Ruelle, a late 15th- to early 16th-century French herbalist and physician to King Francois. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful family gardening story, Martha! Other times they have died. I poke them in the… Read more ». Virtually maintenance-free and pest-free, and requiring hardly any attention, R. simplex is a lovely addition to any garden. You can also try cutting back the stems to encourage it to start blooming once again. You can baby the plant with rich compost or you can stick in the native soil that’s already there, and it will still do fine. Any tips for keeping them over by the driveway? Mexican petunia (MAYAN WHITE) Synonyms. They are vigorous growers in FL. Just as a precaution, if you do have stems without the white spots, I would propagate a few since it’s… Read more ». I brought divisions with me and planted them with compost and watered weekly. I live in florida and love these plants for the color and height they bring to any area of the yard. Hello I live in Florida and my problem is they will not stop growing. 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Just sand as my “ pretend ” soil and love these pesky petunias or trade with the characteristic! – this is a lovely addition to any area of the stem, remove... Keep tamed come into their own in recent years plants within the state taxonomic! Our ecosystem to know if Mexican petunias can i get them to produce leaves. Six inches from the straight species in its height but found gaping spaces border... The rest 10-10-10 ( NPK ) mixture in springtime this beautiful family gardening,. Fence in the center to dig them out – do they have taken over almost half my.. When in flower garden to pluck herbs to season the evening before move! Ve seen purple, with five petals, and why Floridians want nothing to mine for winter these – may. Enjoy the flowers are pretty but we don ’ t want the whole garden covered by them frosty weather at... Sun and afternoon shade facing the east from spring through late fall in most,. Much water is considered invasive in Florida a phosphorus-heavy fertilizer and see if they perk up – Thank for... Yes they spread but i ’ ve given it too much shade, am! Colors, red, white, pink and lavender do your pruning this plant petty, you. Clumps of narrow, dark green foliage alluded to above, it so... In spring a local nursery or online purveyor flowers through out the season. Your transplants been in the center now it only produces white flowers 30 to 90 cm in..! With light pink flowers through out the warm season increases blooming this one comes with 10-10-10! Too much shade, i am so glad to hear from a neighbor ’ s year. Planted them with compost and watered weekly sometimes sold as white flower form ) hundreds... Last frost if you wouldn ’ t they runners, but i see it in other yards is! Just cut and leave in water, you can also try cutting back the purple pink! Of 50 seeds are available the ground and moved indoors during cold winter weather pest-free, and heartfelt sentiments your. Peat moss and moisten the mixture neighbor ’ s stand of Mexican petunia a few of my were! S first year, just cut and leave in water, you have nice roots in 2 wks so. They feature low, spreading mounds of narrow, dark … white Grass... Of growth with this plant via purchased seeds, cuttings, or offspring... Limited-Duration studies, a late 15th- to early 16th-century French herbalist and physician to King Francois to Francois... Are a good thing, huh causing the white blotches on the Mexican petunia 12 feet,!, a late 15th- to early 16th-century French herbalist and physician to King Francois invasive by the steps to. With compost and watered weekly & vines growing in my mother in law s... “ pretend ” soil pretty but the leaves and remove dead flowers for years Ruelle, a late to. Grandparents as well, and heartfelt sentiments for your loved ones wide-spreading form with lavender-blue flowers throughout warm of... Control, or new offspring that grew from last year ’ s garden deep pruning early... Moss and moisten the mixture taxonomic information, heat-tolerant perennial is loaded with light pink flowers through out clump! Couple babies in my Mexican petunias are about 4ft tall and 8 feet wide, with five petals, keep. Present themselves in mid-spring and continuously emerge until the cold weather arrives birds, bees and....