Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Asian Jasmine in Austin
November 29, 2010 - I just sent you a question about eliminating jasmine and forgot to mention it is Asian jasmine.
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of sandburs in horse pasture in Minnesota
March 17, 2009 - How do I get rid of sandburs in my horse pasture?
view the full question and answer

Butterflies attracted by Pink Evening Primrose from Burnet TX
July 30, 2012 - I see information on Pink Evening Primrose that says it attracts 'many butterflies' Please tell me which butterflies and name them? I've looked everywhere and am just exhausted and frustrated with...
view the full question and answer

How to tell the difference between native and European thistles
April 19, 2011 - How can I tell the difference between invasive (European) thistles and thistles that are native to Texas? And what is the best way to eradicate the invasive varieties?
view the full question and answer

What is meant when Mimosa Tree is described as an invasive tree in San Antonio TX?
May 14, 2013 - When it is stated that the Mimosa Tree is invasive, does that mean that the Roots are invasive or does it mean that the seed pods will drop and make many more trees ?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.