Oxalis and Ruellia under roses

JoshTx(8a)January 8, 2014

Have any of y'all tried to grow Oxalis or Ruellia as perennials underneath roses? I picked them up on a trip because they are shade tolerant/loving. I figured they would do well under roses.

Josh

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kittymoonbeam

I tried the pink oxalis and it did well and was very pretty. It spreads well. Maybe too well and be sure you want it before you plant some because it travels everywhere. Ground cover thyme is pretty too and flowers in spring. My favorite flower under roses is violas. Keeping them watered makes the roses happy.

How is your garden doing this winter after the storm?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I am fighting oxalis...but pretty sure not the same one you bought. :)

I should pretend it is clover adding nitrogen to the soil, then it might not annoy me so much

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 11:03PM
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JoshTx(8a)

It's hanging on....barely. The cold is brutalizing many of my Teas. All of the youngins' are hanging out inside or in the garage. We're due for warmer weather soon so they'll head out to the sunshine and clean air soon. My Reines Des Violettes band is struggling because we haven't gotten cold enough for it to try to stop growing. Naturally the new growth keeps dying on the and the whole plant is throwing a fit. I'm a little worried I'll lose it. It's from Vintage, so I would consider it a terrible loss.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 11:25PM
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jaspermplants

I fight ruellia constantly here. I don't care for it but I know others like it. It is very invasive.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 7:41AM
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Evenie

There are several kinds of ruellia available, and whatever the tall purple-flowered variety is, it is a serious pest. The little short things I have never noticed as being a problem.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 10:30AM
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jaspermplants

I'm definitely fighting the tall purple one.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 11:51AM
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shopshops

Where did you get your oxalis JoshTX? I live south of Ft Worth and would love to try them under some of my bigger bushes.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 1:21PM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)

I'm fighting a loosing battle against Oxalis pes-caprae (Bermuda buttercup) over here so reading about someone planning to plant Oxalis under roses seems extremely funny. Yes I know there are tamer horticultural cultivars, but still...
Nik

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 1:25PM
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jacqueline9CA

I, too, was laughing so hard re planting oxalis that it was hard to control myself. We have what I think is oxalis pes-caprae here. In all of Northern CA, It blankets many sections of everyone's garden, hell strips, vacant lots, hillsides, etc. in the Spring. Then it melts away in the Fall to invisible, and comes up again the next Spring. As a matter of fact, ours is coming up and blooming now; we are having such abnormally warm & dry weather. In order to "fight" it (you cannot get rid of it), you have to dig up the pips, which are tiny and lurk 12 inches below the top of the soil, at least. I had a hired gardener once who did that in one 12 x 8 ft bed. It took him 2 weeks, and of course because I did not have that done continually, it was back within 12 months.

I have given up doing that, and just pull it up in masses (which is easy except that the pips do not come up, of course) where it is trying to crowd out other plants in the Spring. My DH gets such a mass of it for the compost pile that he says it makes an excellent addition to all of the shredded oak leaves.

So, just be careful that you do some research on exactly what kind of oxalis you want to plant - there seem to be dozens of different kinds. I sent away for and planted (my DH thought I was mad) one with dark purple leaves and pink blooms - that one has stayed right where I planted it for 8 years - no spreading whatever, so there are non-invasive versions.

Jackie

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 2:17PM
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floridarosez9

Green leaves with lavender bloom oxalis is invasive here, and it's almost impossible to eradicate once established. It spreads by seeds and the little bulblets. Think long and hard before you plant it, if it's the type with the bulblets. They breed like rabbits. I spent three weeks digging it out of a front bed, and every week I have to dig up the ones I missed once they resprout. It is trying to invade my lawn also. Beware. The one with the purple leaves is not supposed to be invasive.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 2:28PM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)

Also as a general reminder about (potentially) invasive plants. What may be tame in my climate and conditions might be strongly invasive in yours. So seek out information about your area.
Nik

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Campanula UK Z8

I confess to being a lover of oxalis - do not be dismayed by the nay-sayers, Josh, there are quite a few outstanding varieties, both alpine and woodland types. However, as with mallows, the genus contains my very worst weed alongside some absolute treasures. The horridly persistent O.corniculata hitched a ride via some nursery pots, into my glasshouse, where it has smirked at all attempts at eradication, sending its nasty explosive seeds throughout the garden, hiding under leaves and sneaking into pots. So innocuous, yet so tenacious. On the whole, those with bulbous rootstocks tend to be far better behaved than those with rhizomatous or fibrous roots (adenophylla, versicolour, melanostricta, hirta) although the lovely white (and spreading)woodland sorrel, O.acetosella will be finding a place in my woods since I am not averse to a tisane of young leaves while the sheets of fresh green and white colonies are never oppressive.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 3:39PM
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JoshTx(8a)

Shops,

I picked up the pink oxalis at a nursery in Austin. I haven't been able to find it anywhere around here.

And I am so glad I did NOT get the lavender blooms, tall oxalis. The one I have is low-growing and blooms pink. For all I know though, it may very well become invasive as well.

Camp,

Ogrose and I were just talking about how your descriptions of your allotment are magical. The label on the oxalis specified that it spread by rhizomes so I suppose I lucked out! And what a pestilence to have unwanted stowaways coming home with you. I purchased a rose from the Antique Rose Emporium and it looks like I got free weeds with it too! I sort of hope the oxalis or Ruellia outcompete these blasted weeds. I'd rather have something beautiful running rampant than slave away every weekend pulling out thistles and dandelions.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

as she secretly slips Camps a few Oxalis corniculata seed pods......

I have a few of the oxalis pes-caprae, but am pulling both as fast as I see them and hope over time (along with the bind weed) that they give up.

I should try and find it, but I do have some nice photos featuring the tall yellow oxalis under the trees

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 11:58PM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)

Kippy,

No they won't...

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 1:09AM
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pat_bamaz7

I'm saying a prayer that our cold spell may have killed the tall purple ruellia that I have been unsuccessfully trying to eradicate for years (and fingers double crossed that it took care of the black & blue salvia that's trying to take over another area in that same bed)...

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 11:29AM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Here we only have the mundane yellow one (although fortunately not in my garden) and I have to say that from looking at the picture of the purple one I would have thought it was some desirable perennial. Of course, not when it's perennially trying to take over the garden......

Ingrid

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 12:47PM
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patricianat

pat-bama, never fear they will be there smiling for you come hot weather of summer as they are indestructible. Atomic bombs can take out entire animal/human populations but not those garden bandits, impervious to cargo tanks of roundup.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 8:39PM
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pat_bamaz7

Oh Patricia, thatâÂÂs what I figured, but one can hope. I live on my husbandâÂÂs family land now, so unfortunately, I can no longer move away from my gardening mistakesâ¦pachysandra at my first house, evening primrose at the next, and many years after selling my last house, IâÂÂm still having nightmares of the sweet young couple who bought it cursing me as they pull up truckload after truckload of chenille plant each year. You would think IâÂÂd have learned by now that even though some arenâÂÂt said to be hardy in my zone, suckering plants + hot/humid climate = bad, VERY bad.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:50AM
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jaspermplants

Yes, that ruellia, cockroaches and bermuda grass will be here long after the human race has annihilated itself.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 12:07PM
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floridarosez9

Josh, the dwarf rubella isn't supposed to be invasive.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 3:27PM
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bluegirl_gw

Oxalis grew very thick in my old yard on the coastal prairie. Dunno which species, there are so many pink flowered ones.

Ripped it out of beds & pots for a year or so then thought, "WHY?" It's virtually evergreen, ever-blooming, I doubt that the little bulbs compete much with shrubs, though they could get thick enough to crowd out some short plants. Its leaves & flowers were pretty & it thrived in sun or shade with total neglect.

I like it--wish I had dug up some clumps to bring with me to the desert.

The native ruella was very aggressive but I was able to confine it to a totally neglected un-watered area & it did fine & the flowers were pretty. I wouldn't put it in a flower bed where I wanted other perennials. But the little short ones like "Katie" seem very mannered & just form clumps.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 11:01PM
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sadie_pnw

I grow oxalis under roses. It is a dark maroon color that has a yellow bloom. I let it spread and then pull it up when it starts to bloom. I like it, but this hasn't proven invasive as many other types seem to.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 5:22AM
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Campanula UK Z8

I confess to almost ordering seeds of ruellia simplex....only deciding that it was a bit of zone-pushing too far. Mexican petunia, as it was referred to, seemed like a rather pretty easy care plant....there was not a sniff of warning about its immortal tendencies. Now I have a bit more (weedy) acreage to play with, the terms 'vigorous', fast-growing' and 'spreading' suddenly appear quite attractive.....so much so that I have, in various seed trays, the notorious campanula rapunculoides, almost ready to do battle with the real thugs in my wood. Am looking forward to gladiatorial contests between bramble vs hesperis, nettle vs campanula, hogweed vs acanthus.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:50AM
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lou_texas(8a N Central TX)

Josh, I've been growing oxalis crassipes (pink flowers, gray-green foliage) around my roses for years. I use them to edge several beds, and I've never had them get out of control. If they start to creep too close to the roses (I have mulch directly under the roses), I just dig some for the next person who asks for a start.

I also grow oxalis triangularis (lavender flowers, very dark purple/black foliage) which some people grow in pots. It does perfectly well here in the ground. I have it in only one bed where I have other bulbs planted that grow up through during the various seasons. This oxalis has never jumped the edging. It's far less vigorous than oxalis crassipes.

Once upon a time I grew oxalis regnellii (white flowers, gray-green foliage). It was the least vigorous of the three. I'm not sure I even have any left. All of the ones I mentioned were about 5-7 inches tall and grew into a solid groundcover.

I believe I bought my oxalis at a favorite nursery in Cedar Hill (that has since closed - they had lovely old roses), but I have also seen oxalis in many, many places in the Metroples - even the big box stores. Sometimes it is located with the shade plants so you might look there.

The only drawback to oxalis crassipes is that it browns and disappears when the temps are in the 90s - if - the bed is in full sun. It stays vigorous in my partially shaded beds, and of course thrives with plenty of moisture. The oxalis triangularis is in a partially shaded bed so I don't know if it disappears in the very hot sun. This trait of disappearing doesn't bother me; usually I have enough other things growing that no one notices that the oxalis is not there. But everyone does notice when it is there.

Hope this helps some. If you like the look, I recommend it for North Central Texas. Lou

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:40PM
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lou_texas(8a N Central TX)

Oh, and by the way, I also grow the purple flowered Katie's Dwarf ruellia as well as the pink and white flowered dwarf plants. Never been a problem. I like these three ruellia mixed. I think they compliment each other. I don't mix the oxalis because some have purple and some have green leaves and the combination looks splotchy to me. At least when it comes to the uses I have for it.

The other plant I use around roses and as a bed edging is stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ears). I love all of these and none are trouble in my garden. Lou

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:49PM
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JoshTx(8a)

Lou,

Thanks for the advice! The Oxalis I have has beautiful light green foliage. I can't wait for it to bloom. I'm hoping it is vigorous enough to outcompete the weeds, salvia, and Blackfoot daisies. If it all sorts out the way I see it in my minds eye, the bed will be covered in purple, white, yellow, pink perennials beneath the tall apricot Jude the Obscure and deep pink Heritage and Eglantyne blooms.

Of course, I doubt it will turn out exactly the way I want.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:31PM
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kittymoonbeam

Easy to divide too. Just wait for big clumps to form and bloom. Then you can easily split them up. Anyplace the oxalis bulblets are, a new clump will start. They get going faster in good loose moist soil with a little sand added in.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:53AM
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PortlandMysteryRose(8)

Josh, I'm sure my mom and grandmother grew the type of oxalis you are describing. My mom grew it under polyantha roses. Not a problem. It does spread, like Viola odorata spreads and which she also grew in shade gardens, but she just forked up the oxalis (and violet) plants that stepped out of line. There's a pink oxalis in Oregon that's native and very similar. Both my husband's grandmother here in Portland and my own back in Dallas referred to medicinal properties of these pink-flowered varieties. Vitamin C plants. I believe that sailors consumed oxalis in order to avoid bouts of scurvy. My grandmother and I tasted her garden plants and the foliage did have a citrusy tang. Anyhoo, just some fun facts. Oh, and I do love oxalis. I have the purple-leaved variety sprinkled throughout my beds. Like Mom, I fork up the strays and hogs but keep some (unavoidable, really) to enjoy. Pretty little yellow-flowered things!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 2:40AM
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ziyakr(6)

pat_bamaZ7 wrote "I'm saying a prayer that our cold spell may have killed the tall purple ruellia that I have been unsuccessfully trying to eradicate for years (and fingers double crossed that it took care of the black & blue salvia that's trying to take over another area in that same bed)... "

Funny, these are the two plants I desperately wish were hardy in my zone. I love them, the hummingbirds LOVE them and both are so dramatic and flower SO MUCH! What a difference a zone or two makes LOL. Great pic of your Mexican petunia...if you like it but not the spread I've grown it in a big container and it stays a more manageable size (4' tall in the pot as opposed to 6' tall in the ground).

Ziya

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 7:33PM
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pat_bamaz7

Ziya, If they donâÂÂt overwinter for you in Zone 6, maybe there is hope our very cold winter will get them this year. Invasive spreader that it is in my garden, I would still consider growing Black & Blue salvia in a pot since the hummers do flock to it, but after years of digging up massive clumps of Mexican petunia to only have it come back tenfold, IâÂÂm okay if I never see that one again. Both are beautiful, but in zones where they are hardy, they choke out companion plants and would need a large area all to their own.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 6:50PM
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kittymoonbeam

We called the weedy yellow ones sour grass and ate the stalks every day that we played outside as kids. I still like the taste. They taste best plumped up with water. The droughty runty ones are just stringy and tough. Bees love that yellow flower. I like it because it comes up and tells me when it's safe to start my sweet peas and plant lettuce and pansies. I always keep a little patch going for this reason but it spreads fast and I have to keep on top of it or it will take over. The pink kind blooms all year and stays put for the most part.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:26PM
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PortlandMysteryRose(8)

Ah, Kitty. A kindred spirit in the (weed) garden! :-)

Carol

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:30PM
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