March 19, 2016
I have a very small Mexican Petunia. When and where should I plant it? Is it invasive?
Mexican petunia or ruellia is a drought tolerant perennial for full sun. The standard variety can grow three feet tall or more and in the right conditions, can get a bit too happy and spread. The dwarf from commonly called ‘Katie’ is much better behaved and is a great perennial. I like both of them, but just be aware of the spread of the standard one.
The city of Little Rock has incorporated a plant into their landscapes and I need your help identifying it so that I can include it in my garden. It grows to about 3 feet tall. The stems are woody and dark brown. The leaves are long and narrow. The blooms are deep purple and the size of a half dollar. From what I can tell, the blooms open in the morning and are closed by mid-afternoon. I have enclosed a picture. It was taken in front of the Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatics Center.
The plant in question is commonly called a Mexican petunia-- Ruellia brittoniana. The standard variety is what is in the picture, and can be a bit aggressive, spreading to other areas of the garden. A dwarf variety, called Katie dwarf comes in purple or white and is much better behaved in the garden. Both are very drought tolerant and are perennials.
I was given a Mexican petunia plant that is bare root and I plant to plant soon. What can you tell me about it? I have never heard of it before, am told it is very hardy and blooms well. It has 2 purple blooms on it now.
Mexican petunia is Ruellia. It is an extremely heat and drought tolerant perennial. There is a standard variety that grows about three feet tall and has purple flowers and is very hardy. It can also get a little too happy in the garden and spread, so pay attention to it. There is also a dwarf ruellia that gets no taller than 6 inches and is marginally hardy in NW Arkansas. Plant yours in full sun and water and mulch it and it should survive the winter.
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