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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.

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

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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!

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Thursday - July 02, 2009

From: Vacaville, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Problem Plants
Title: How can I eradicate Mexican Petunia from my garden in Vacaville CA?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Can you tell me the best way to eradicate the plant Ruellia, commonly known as Mexican Petunia, from my garden?

ANSWER:

The Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittonia {syn. R. Tweediana}) is a native of Mexico. It can be invasive and is listed as a Category 1 invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Its invasiveness is enhanced by its fast growth, prolific production of seeds, and an extensive root system.

Regarding getting it out of your garden, you don't want to spray herbicide in your garden, so one approach is to pull it out, and keep cutting back new sprouts; not necessarily an easy task. You also want to prevent reseeding by removing flowers after they fade so the seed pods won't develop, and also remove new seedlings as they appear. A chemical control method is to use glyphosphate.  Use this very carefully since it can also eliminate all of your other plants. Cut the Petunias down to the ground and apply the glyphosphate to the stumps of the stems. Be sure to follow the directions and warnings on the label.

For more help closer to home, I suggest that you contact the folks at University of California Cooperative Extension in Solano County.

 

 

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