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
3 ratings

Sunday - June 15, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Invasiveness of wild petunia in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is the wild petunia in the data base as invasive/aggressive as the more common ruellia? In other words, will it pop up everywhere? Ruellia nudiflora (Engelm. & Gray) Urban Common wild petunia, Violet ruellia, Violet wild petunia, Wild petunia

ANSWER:

There are four members of the genus Ruellia that are native to Texas: Ruellia nudiflora (violet wild petunia), Ruellia drummondiana (Drummond's wild petunia), Ruellia humilis (fringeleaf wild petunia). and Ruellia occidentalis (western wild petunia). All are considered Plantwise native alternatives to non-native Ruellia caerulea (Britton's wild petunia), also known as Ruellia x brittoniana "Katie", which is widely available commercially. Ruellia caerulea is on the Texas Invasives list, but whether it is more or less invasive than the natives is a little hard to say. They all seed prolifically, grow well in shady, moist areas, and grow fairly quickly in the warm season. However, information in our Native Plant Database indicates that the Ruellias can be kept under control by mowing. They are all difficult to pull up, because they have a large knot in the root just below the surface of the soil. Many gardeners pick the non-native caerulea because it has been hybridized or selected to provide other colors than the native purple; pink, white and blue, although purple has remained the most popular color. Perhaps the main point in favor of using the natives is that they ARE natives, accustomed to living in their environment, requiring less fertilizer, water and maintenance to do well.

Pictures of non-native Ruellia caerulea


Ruellia nudiflora

Ruellia drummondiana

Ruellia humilis

Ruellia occidentalis

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Toxicity and invasiveness of Scarlet Wisteria
May 04, 2007 - I recently purchased seeds for Scarlet Wisteria (Chinese rattlebox tree). I spoke to a neighbor about this and she warned me not to plant them as they were poisonous to hummingbirds. Can you clarify...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating kudzu from Richmond KY
March 26, 2014 - I live in Richmond KY, Kirksville area. I have noticed that Kudzu has started to grow in my patch of land next to the creek. How can I get rid of this before it becomes a big problem?
view the full question and answer

Legality of using Chinese tallow seeds for Christmas decorations
December 07, 2008 - If tallow trees are on the noxious list, is it illegal to use the white berries for Christmas decorations?
view the full question and answer

Is Ruellia aggressive?
July 06, 2014 - Is Ruellia aggressive?
view the full question and answer

Hydrilla problems in Tom Bean Lake in Mesquite, TX.
October 12, 2012 - What is the lifespan of Hydrilla in 30 acre lake at Tom Bean Tx? Does it grow spring thru summer and then hibernate thru winter ??
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