Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana)

greenpendulum(7)September 15, 2007

Howdy Everybody,

I'm new to the forum so let me introduce myself. My name is Amy, I live in Norman in an older house with lots of potential garden space. This year, I tried to go for a full-on garden but I planted before the last frost and what was left was flooded out. If at first you don't succeed...

Today, a friend gave me some plants that I've identified as Mexican Petunias. He said they are invasive but have been great for attracting hummers and bees. We all want bees, right? But here's the kicker - everything I've read about this pretty little plant says DON'T.

I want to, yes, but something tells me that in 50 years, when I'm dead and gone, these little buggers will cause more problems with OK's ecosystem than expected.

Any thoughts?

Warm Regards,


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barton(z6b OK)

Dunno Amy. this was my first year for them and they sure are pretty. The flowers all fall off every evening and more bloom the next morning. I've seen hummingbirds around mine. I bought one in a pot at the Tulsa perennial sale this spring. It grew a lot but so far is staying in one place. Like I said, this is their first year here.

So what if they are here when I am dead and gone? I could leave worse things behind.

Anyway, Welcome!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 11:18PM
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I've seen them growing in the median of the highway, here in Tahlequah, and nearly stopped to dig some for the homestead. When we lived, for a while, in South Texas we had them in our lawn. We loved them! If you have Bermuda grass, then the Mexican Petunia will seem like no problem at all.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 7:35AM
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Thanks guys.

I think I'll attempt to isolate the petunias on the side of the house where masses of Asiatic dayflowers, irises and milkweed vines already thrive. I could throw in some Vinca minor and start an experiment with natural selection.

Don't even get me started on Bermuda. I'm about ready to solarize my entire lawn.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 11:53AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Amy,

Welcome to the forum!

For what it is worth, we have Mexican petunia growing here and there on our property, generally on the edges where open pastureland meets woodland, and it has never been the least bit invasive. Of course, ours is growing in awful Oklahoma red clay soil and with no irrigation--only rainfall--so maybe it won't be invasive in those conditions. In better soil and with some irrigation it could be invasive, but there are worse problems to have.

And bermuda grass....don't get me started either! My favorite all-time Garden Web member name is someone who goes by Bermudagrassisevil. Wish I'd thought of that name first!


    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 3:17PM
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It is only hardy to zone 7, which is our zone, so a hard winter may kill off this ruellia, too. If you make sure you cut off the seed pods you can plant them where you want them, without reseeding to kingdom come! LOL! I encourage people to plant ruellias because they are the host plant for the beautiful little Buckeye butterflies.


Here is a link that might be useful: Buckeye Butterfly

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 12:10PM
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I have several "patches" and it can be invasive if you let it go. I get out the hedge shears and cut around the edges then the pickaxe and dig up the roots. They multiply from rhizomes and this is the only way I've found to keep them under control.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 12:07AM
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I have had both the purple and the pink and I also have bermuda grass (it really is evil). I have my purple ruellia in a flower pot with an old fashioned lantana and enjoy it there, but originally had it in my flower beds in Texas (north of Ft. Worth in black gumbo clay) and it took over so I swore I would not plant it in the flower beds here in OK. Well, I also had a small pink ruellia and it had not proven to be invasive in Texas, so when I moved it up here I put it in the flower bed (worn out peanut farm land of red clay and sand). Somebody kick me, cause I am ready to dig all of it up and I'm not sure burning it would do the job. I have read recommendations of planting ruellia in a pot in the ground but have not tried that myself. I am interested to know what you wind up doing and how it works. Also, if you are near Bryan County, let me know and I would be glad to share the pink with you.

Ms. Faith

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 1:33PM
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I need some advice. Have rooted a cutting of the blue ruellia, which I desperately wanted and could not find at any nurseries. It is quite small and it's late in the season to have started a cutting. Should I overwinter it in the house in a large pot? I understand that it is marginally hardy here in zone 7; however I live in the City (heat island effect) and my yard has a six foot fence around it. Do you think it would survive a winter here as young as it is? I just now noticed I was on an Oklahoma forum, had been searching for ruellia and didn't notice...I'm in Washington on the East Coast. Any advice? Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 4:35PM
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