Looking for the name of a reed-like plant in my 'flower bed'

apriln19September 25, 2007

And I put flower bed in quotes because it's actually pretty far from what most of you would call a flower bed.

I'm in North Central Florida.

This plant is reed-like, tall and skinny. Has a dark purple/maroon colored stalk and green leaves. It has purple flowers that fall off the plant everyday (I also have pink flowered ones - but I've actually seen the purple ones other places)

My husband swears it's a weed because it's so hardy and has spread like, well, like a weed! lol

But it's not a weed. I know it's not.

Can anyone help a super-novice out? (If I can navigate this site I'll have other questions soon. I'd like to clean all the beds out, keep what I like and compost the rest.)

We rent and have been here for about a year. The flower beds were seriously neglected before I got here and I have yet to want to tackle that huge job. Now that it's cooled off some I think I'll take it on, but it's going to be lots of work and I'm sure I'll have lots of questions along the way.

My name is April, and I'd like a green thumb but as of right now it's a little more brown than green ;-)

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I've looked and looked (and looked some more) online trying to find this plant.

I've thought was close a few times. The closest was 'black bamboo' but that doesn't have the pink or purple flowers this has.

*sigh* I'm going to bed, I'll take some pictures and upload them to photobucket in the morning. I tried to take some tonight and you could see them, you couldn't really tell just what they looked like.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 1:56AM
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Pictures would really help. There is a special "Name That Plant" forum on this site also. Just copy and paste the HTML tag line from your photobucket picture(s).

Here is a link that might be useful: Name that plant forum

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 6:57AM
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Okay here are pictures - it's the best I could get with dying batteries and without digging out the tripod.

You'll get the point anyway.

This is how thickly they grow. (I should add that last years first frost hit them really bad. I thought they were dead and cut them back to the ground, but didn't pull them up and they have a hollow stalk - this is how thick they are less than a year after that)

Sorry this the flowers in the foreground are blurry, my camera foucused on the flowers in the background.

And this is how thin and reed-like they are. The stalks were thicker (but I'd still say they were reed-like) before last years frost. But these are fairly young plants.

~~ Okay I hope I did these pictures right ~~

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 8:31AM
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Mexican petunia, Ruellia brittoniana.

Yes, you did these pictures just right!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 8:56AM
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Thank you - thank you - thank you!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 9:08AM
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I actually suspected what you were describing was Mexican petunia even before I saw the pictures. Your pictures were extremely helpful to me because I planted a clump of this before reading about how it can take over. I was very surprised because this year (its first), it couldn't even take full sun (kept drooping) even before the real drought hit. Therefore I moved to to a spot that is mostly in shade. And yet it suddenly bloomed for me again.

I'm really trying to decide what to do with it if it could spread very quickly to the size clump your picture shows.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 3:24PM
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They are taking over. I didn't originally plant these so I don't know where they were to start with, but the are all over the place.

I'll go take another picture so you can see what I'm talking about.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 5:36PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Oh yes, Ruellia is very invasive. But on the other hand, they provide very valuable late summer color, so most southerners have a love/hate relationship with them. Dig as many of them out as you can (Don't worry. No way you'll get them all.), getting as much root as possible. Throw it away. Do not compost. Then next spring, if you want them, use a shovel to cut the roots around the clump of the ones you want to keep and dig out the rest as best you can. I have never ever been able to get rid of them with sprays, or digging, but, like I say it's a love/hate thing.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 5:56PM
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Here, it's very easy to pull out the extras.

I have a ton of them because the bees & butterflies love them.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 5:04PM
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Invasive little things! I started out with one that the birds must have planted... now my bed is full of them. The original clump was chopped down, but then i noticed there must be 20 or more others scattered all over the bed. Someone sprayed them, didn't faze them. I am cutting them down, digging, etc. I liked the first plant ... did not dream that it was going to take over!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 9:07PM
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