Ruellia/Mexican Petunia

poisondartfrogOctober 26, 2007

There has to be a trick to saving these. I know they are considered invasive in some areas, but in my yard they don't spread or reseed, at least they have not so far.

I would like to have more so I have been trying to collect seeds. The seed pods never seem to turn brown and they disappear on me when I think they are close to ripening.

Can anyone tell me how best to save these?

Thanks, Alana

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Hi Alana,
I was hoping someone who actually grows this would answer, but I do believe it is an easy plant to collect seed from. I think you are not getting seed formation. What you say reminds me of other plants I've grow where for some reason, no viable seed is formed. The plant often does look like it is going to make seed, and then it just doesn't happen. The pods fall off or wither away to nothing. Sometimes it even looks like there is seed where there is none! I collected all my Centaurea montana seed heads when they were dry this summer, and I had not one fertilized seed! So it is possible to be growing a plant that supposedly makes lots of seeds easily and come up with nothing. Another thing that happens to me is sometimes the first seed pods which form have no seed, but later ones do.
I hope you find some seed. If not, there's always the exchange. : )

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 9:06AM
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Thanks Remy.
You may be onto something. I have had the same problem with a couple of Salvia species this year that are in the same location in the garden and which I have successfully collected seed from in previous years-it is a mystery. I think I have plenty of pollinators, if bees are the primaries for these. I have had more American Honey Bees this year than I have seen in a decade.
I am going to take a few Ruellia cuttings today and see if they will overwinter that way.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 9:40AM
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necia(z7 N TX)

I just collected 2 seed pods off mine. I have tons of purplish/black seed pods that haven't ripened yet. It does seem that I have to get out there at just the right time or they have already popped open and the seeds are gone with the wind! I know that the ones that I have seem to pop really fast, with lots of force. I have had them pop when I am trying to remove them, too. Do you notice any brown, opened seed pods (look like they have lots of tiny 'teeth' where the seeds were attached) on the plant? Seems to me that would indicate that your plant is indeed going to seed.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 3:18PM
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No Necia, no brown seed pods at all, which is what is puzzling. The pods seem to drop off before they even begin to turn brown. When I opened some immature pods today, there appeared to be some white unripe seeds inside. I am visiting them a couple of times a day to try to catch them in the act of ripening.
Thanks for the information. Maybe I will try "bagging" a couple and see what happens.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 6:02PM
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Necia, you are right about the seed pods on the Mexican Petunia popping open with force. When the pod is ripe it explodes and propels the seed far and wide. If you happen to be there at the time, you may even hear them pop! I can't imagine why your plant wouldn't have mature seed pods. Maybe you just haven't been there to get them before they pop. I have had the same problem. Or maybe they aren't getting pollinated for some reason? There is a good chance that you will have new plants developing from the roots even if you don't collect the seeds. As soon as the babies have roots, you can cut them away from the mother plant and put them wherever you want them, similar to getting new strawberry plants from the runners. Good luck with them. My mother is always pulling up new plants from her bed and either giving or throwing them away, but they keep coming back in force.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 4:49PM
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Amme, I wish I had your mother's problem! They just don't persist for me here in Kentucky. Maybe if I put some in a slightly protected location they might overwinter successfully. I will try that this season.
Fortunately, my cuttings have done well, so I will have some plants to experiment with.
Thanks for the responses,

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 2:52PM
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I have been able to save the seed only of the ground cover sized ones, which are a diff. species than the tall blue ones I have. Have seen no seed PODS on the tall kind....but, they are almost invasive, so it doesn't matter to me.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2015 at 1:24PM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

In New Orleans I never saw what was pollinating the blooms but nearly every one developed a seed pod! My Significant Other, who had more than a touch of paranoia, thought someone was hitting her with a peashooter - it was the Ruellia seeds hitting her as the pods exploded!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 5:13PM
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Dwarf or standard? The standard there are at least 2 ways, one watch until they start to turn as they will explode and self seed. Or you could put a paper bag around the seed pods and wait until they explode. As for the dwarf I would try to cut off those long growing stalks and stick them into soil. They are very tough both stems and roots. I have never seen any seed pods on them but they seem to do fine on their own.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2015 at 10:57AM
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I never had any trouble collecting seeds. Just hold my hand lightly around a brown seed pod and, if the seeds are ready, the pod will pop within seconds. I always thought the increased relative humidity inside my hollow grasp caused the pod to pop. I loved harvesting ruellia this way. However, I have not had it in my garden for years. This week I came across on undated bottle of ruellia seed, which I think must be from before 2000. I might see if they will germinate.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 6:26PM
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