Mexican Petunia (Ruellia)

August 29, 2013 – 07:50 am

Mexican Petunia

Ruellia
(roo-EE-lee-ah)
Wild Petunia or Mexican Petunia
ACANTHACEAE

What a beautiful, long blooming perennial. From spring until the fall. Each flower sometimes only blooming for one day. The leaves are lance shaped, from four to six inches.

In the wild species, of the Mexican petunia it will sprawl 3 - 4 feet and grows as high as 4 - 6 feet.

The flowers are five lobed and tubular: purple with darker veins. It also comes in pink.

They bloom and then within hours or a day the bloom falls off. Ours, in Northern Florida, start blooming in late June, I think and then keep blooming all summer into the fall.

Grow in sunny to partial shade. Zone 7 - 9. Keep in well-drained soil.

Mexican PetuniaThey look nice in border, cottage gardens, and pots. The wild species (Ruellia tweediana) can be invasive (see warnings, below)

Propagation

One can propagate in the fall or spring by seeds or division.

Wait 'til the pods are brown and mature and on the crunchy side. Then split the pod and take the seeds out.

Pruning

I've cut back my Mexican Petunias all sorts of ways, just to experiment. They seem to come back every time.

Our main bed is about 2 1/2 ft wide and a winding 30 feet long

Mine usually get 2 1/2 to three feet tall. They are that right now (northern Florida, end-July). If they get much taller, they fall over, grow horizontally, then up again. I've never cut them this time of the year. Only in late fall or winter.

I've cut them back by half. The next season they grow back. I've cut them all the way to the ground. They also grow back in the next season.

If they are too thick, I try to just pull them up to thin them out (it's difficult to pull the bigger ones up, but it can be done.)

I've also cut some all the way to the ground and some half way and leave the smaller ones. This is my favorite method. It does not cause the bed to look dead after I do it.

Source: www.emilycompost.com


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Yep, they'll do a number on geranium flowers

And also petunias, and other ornamental tobacco family plants. There's a good little article from Sunset on the problem here:
Looks like you can use the "organic" Bacillus (BT) for control besides picking each little worm out of there. BT's about the only thing to spray on anyway, since the pest is apparently notoriously immune to insecticides.
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Petunias

Look on leaves for little brown flecks if u find them, u most likely have budworms. the flecks r their poop. they destroy flowers,buds and leaves. I have recently seen japanese beetles obliterate the poor plants in two days. try spraying water lightly over plants and then quickly scan for moving insects, as this may help to identify them..or...shake plant over a bag and see if a bug drops in. this can he also help identify. could b slugs if there is mulch near . check soil on ground or pot for snails ,slugs etc. I hand pick most slugs,snails, and beetles and have good results.good luck


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