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?


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

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


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


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.



More Invasive Plants Questions

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen replacement for bamboo in Redding CA
July 27, 2009 - We have just removed bamboo from our backyard and need to replace it with a plant that will give us the same type of privacy. What plant would you suggest to plant along a fence line that will surviv...
view the full question and answer

Invasives species experiment from Fairfax VA
May 09, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have some friends that need an experiment on Invasive Species fast. They are in 11th grade at Robinson secondary school. Are you able to help? Its due in June and they don'...
view the full question and answer

Non-native citronella mosquito plant wintering inside in Charlotte NC
October 20, 2011 - Can I bring the citronella mosquito plant in the house over the winter, or should it be planted outside. I live in Charlotte, NC.
view the full question and answer

Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
July 26, 2011 - Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be pla...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center