Ruellia nudiflora super plant

bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)March 12, 2013

This common wild petunia (Ruellia Nudiflora) came up in an uncultivated area of our backyard a few years ago. Didn't think much of it until it continued to flower without water in full Sun against a south facing brick wall during the hot dry summer of 2011 when even the irrigated natives were struggling in north Texas. So.... I tried to kill it by putting some in dense shade on the irrigated (damp) north side of the house and it thrived and flowered well there, too. I seeded some into the east edge of our back lawn that had succumbed to Take All fungus where it competed well with the recovering St Augustine and seems to handle mowing and light foot traffic just fine. It has a long blooming season and provides blue/violet color at times when much else is red, orange, yellow, or "brown". It can get that weedy wild look that is a matter of taste, but re-flowers quickly after a cosmetic trim.

The only downside I can see is that it is a prolific seeder and a vibrant pioneer. While the volunteers are easy to remove in our clay, they are numerous - especially if the flowerless seeds put out in the Spring are left to ripen. These "pop" and can launch the seed a couple feet or more away from the parent plant. Everything up to this point has been loosely conducted experiment. But am now considering it for ground cover in a utility strip in the back alley.

I realize most will not be familiar with this plant because it is native only to Texas and a few adjoining states, but the question I have is the basic one of how to be a good neighbor with this sort of wildflower. In the planned location, most of the seeds will either fall into the strip or be sent down the storm drain. Fences contain it well, so they should also keep it out of the neighbors' backyards. Thought I'd just watch for problems with it showing up in unwanted places and changing it out if it turns out this can't be managed easily (to the neighbors' satisfaction). Any other thoughts or suggestions?

P.S. There's ruellia nudiflora var. nudiflora and ruellia nudiflora var. runyonii. I think this is runyonii (smaller flower), but am not sure. Would like to know how to tell them apart if anyone happens to know. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Ruellia nudiflora at

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Dude! I love that plant! I called them wild petunias for the longest time.
Never had a problem with them being invasive. I think Runyonii has more rounded leaves.
I'm in north Fl. and they thrive. (:

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 7:29PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

@Soleil.Blume.Hooke, Was wondering if anyone had done anything other than try to kill these. At least one prominent TAMU (tx a&m) horticulturist considers this Texas native "nothing more than a troublesome and persistent weed." I've not found it hard to manage in our heavy clay; but imagine it could be worse in looser soils due to all the viable seed it drops. It's ruellia brittoniana that's usually sold locally.

I went ahead and planted the 3ft x 16ft back alley strip with r. nudiflora, so will see what happens. Many of the neighbors are growing dandelions in this space, so figure an equally persistent native with longer blooming season is fair game.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Wow! I'd kill to have that weed! We do have vinca which some consider invasive, but it's almost the same as the photo you show. It looks amazing mixed in with nasturtiums!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 4:28PM
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