Ruellia humilis

Wild petunia

CODE: 017-0001
ZONE: 4a
PRICE: $6.00
POT SIZE: 4.5"sq x 3.5", 475 ml

I was first introduced to this wild petunia when I was a graduate student at the Universty of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. One of the professors kept telling me that he had always been looking for Ruellia humilis and that if I ever found some, I should buy them.

After searching for a couple of years I finally found a flat at the local traveling nursery (they had a giant tent covering tables filled with plants and would move around town from season to season). I promptly grabbed two plants and proudly carried them to my parents' house.

We didn't really know what to expect, but we were definitely pleasantly surprised. A handful of small, five-lobed lavender flowers greeted us in June and we thought "Hmm, that's cute, if brief." We figured that the blooming season was over, but boy were we wrong! Much to our delight, that little plant continued to produce flowers continually until frost.

In subsequent years we discovered that established plants were much more floriferous than their younger counterparts. We also learned that this plant will seed itself into cracks where little else grows, but not excessively. We experimented by transplanting seedlings throughout the yard and were amazed by the plant's range. It seems to prefer well-drained, alkaline soil in full sun but will perform quite well in moist, shaded clay soils (as long as there's no standing water).

Treat yourself to some of these natives -- you won't regret it!

Back to index

(c) 2007 Christopher P. Lindsey