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

Why is Water Hyacinth an invasive plant and Pickerel Weed isn't in Metarie, LA?
May 28, 2011 - Water Hyacinth. Would you please tell me why the Eichhornia crassipes (non-native) vs. Pickerelweed (native) is invasive vs. non-invasive? What are easy identifiers for these aquatic plants? Th...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating black locust volunteers in Rockville MD
September 27, 2011 - I am a landscape designer whose client has a very large, mature black locust in her front yard. Not surprisingly, she also has multitudes of black locust volunteers popping up all over her yard. The...
view the full question and answer

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
July 02, 2014 - Foxglove (digitalis purpurea) is not a native U.S. plant. It was introduced to the U.S. from Europe and is now considered invasive in many parts of the western U.S. It invades our forested wild land...
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive roots of Turks Cap in College Station TX
April 29, 2014 - I know people have asked you questions about propagating Turk's Cap, but my question is a little different. I have this plant growing in several locations, because I have a large garden with lots...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing, possibly invasive trees for South Carolina
July 12, 2007 - What fast growing trees would you suggest for South Carolina? We are heavy clay and the pecan trees we planted don't see to be too happy here. We are looking at the yellow poplar and the empress tre...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center