En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - November 08, 2004

From: Beaumont, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Smarty Plants on Katy Ruellia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What can you tell me about Katy Ruellia? I need something with color that will take the hot southeast Texas summers and the cold/wet winters that stays decent and will flower.

ANSWER:

The Katy Ruellia, Ruellia brittoniana, is an introduced species from Mexico. Other common names are Mexican petunia and Britton's petunia. It comes in a variety of flower colors--bluish purple, pink, and white. Its foliage is evergreen and it is resistant to freezing. With a hard freeze (mid-20s) the leaves will die back but return quickly. It is drought tolerant but can be agressively invasive when it receives abundant moisture. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council considers it a Category I invasive species which means that it is "altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions, or hybridizing with natives." You can read a Plant Profile for Ruellia brittoniana on the USDA Plants Database. You can also read about it on the web page for University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension and at the Floridata Marketplace web page.
You might consider using instead wild petunias native to Texas. For example, Carolina wild petunia, Ruellia caroliniensis, has showy violet flowers, is a perennial and cold hardy (occurring as far north as Pennsylvania). The wild white petunia, R. metziae, has white flowers and is considered evergreen. You can see a list and read about some of the wild petunias native to Texas in the Native Plants Database on the Wildflower Center web page.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Source for seeds of Mexican primrose from Dallas
April 25, 2013 - Can I purchase Mexican Evening Primrose seeds now for planting in the fall or do I need to wait for the fresh crop of seeds that will be gathered from this spring flowering. How can I be assured the ...
view the full question and answer

Winter preparation for wildflowers
October 22, 2009 - My first attempt at my wild flower garden is successful. I planted a box of perennial seeds, so I don't know what type of plants I actually have. My concern is what to do once the temperature drop...
view the full question and answer

Visit Texas to see the Bluebonnets
March 14, 2004 - When is a good time to visit Texas to see the Bluebonnets?
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
July 01, 2005 - I've seen several recommendtions for using a Bluebonnet Inoculant when planting Bluebonnets. "For best success, we strongly suggest using Bluebonnet inoculant (to assist in fixing nitrogen into soi...
view the full question and answer

Hanging plants for Austin, TX
May 18, 2014 - I'm looking for a hanging potted flower suggestion for Austin. Most locations are shaded under a large tree, but some locations may have several hours of afternoon sun. I'd love to see some hummin...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center