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Garden Critique: Mexican Petunias

The Mexican Petunia Plant

Mexican Petunias in full bloom.

Mexican Petunias in full bloom.

A locust enjoys the sun on top of a Mexican petunia branch.

A locust enjoys the sun on top of a Mexican petunia branch.

The Mexican peturnia will fill up a bed with beautiful foliage and flowers but it will become invasive if not kept in check.

The Mexican peturnia will fill up a bed with beautiful foliage and flowers but it will become invasive if not kept in check.

The Mexican petunia loses its flowers each night and pushes forth the next day's buds.

The Mexican petunia loses its flowers each night and pushes forth the next day's buds.

Mexican Petunias in the Garden

We have been growing the Mexican petunia or ruellia for many years in our garden. It is not an actual member of the petunia family; it is related to the black-eyed Susan vine. The Mexican petunia has performed incredibly well in the extreme heat and drought of Georgia. In cold climates, they are grown as annuals.

It is a favorite of honey bees and hummingbirds. The hummingbirds are attracted to the purple tubelike flowers and will visit each flower during the morning time to drink the nectar before it is dropped from the plant.

The plants have been used more in recent years as landscaping plants for professional buildings. It made its way to my garden via the local university’s garden. I saw it combined with stunning coneflowers and red hot pokers, and I had to have some. It grows to around three feet tall, on attractive green and burgandy stalks.

An Invasive Plant

The Mexican petunia is considered an invasive plant, so be warned. We have a whole yard full of the plant from just one five gallon bucket. You must keep it in check by pulling the plant up by the roots. If you do not want the plant to spread, you must remove all of it. Another way to keep them in your garden is to put them in containers and plant the containers directly into the ground. This means they are contained and will not spread; you will still have to thin them out annually.

The Mexican petunia is a stunning addition to any garden, but, keep in mind its invasive qualities. Do not place it next to a treasured flower; it will take over and choke out most any plant. Just use with caution and enjoy. 


Use the Mexican peturnias with caution due to their invasive qualities.

Use the Mexican peturnias with caution due to their invasive qualities.

About the Author

Catherine Dean is a freelance writer, gardener, quilter, and blogger. Her professional background includes nonprofit program development, grant writing, and volunteer management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Georgia College & State University.

Her blog, Sowing A Simple Harvest, chronicles a modern couple trying to live a simplistic, sustainable life. To explore Catherine's professional credentials, visit her website. She can also be followed on Google+.

Comments

Catherine Dean (author) from Milledgeville, Georgia on September 18, 2012:

Well, hello neighbor (from Georgia)! They are quite stunning when covered in the purple flowers. Thanks for commenting.

Catherine Dean (author) from Milledgeville, Georgia on September 18, 2012:

Thanks for commenting!

Catherine Dean (author) from Milledgeville, Georgia on September 18, 2012:

Well, it is extremely hot and humid here in the US south too. They thrive in heat and humidity as long as you keep them watered. I think they would be stunning in masses in pots. Let me know how they grow for you. Thanks for sharing and commenting.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 18, 2012:

I live in S. Florda, and we grow these here in abundance! We call the "Purple Rain". I just love them.

Thanks for your informative and interesting Hub.

I voted this Hub UP, and will share.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on September 18, 2012:

thanks for sharing these beautiful flowers. i love your hub. its naturific!!

Sushmita from Kolkata, India on September 18, 2012:

I have only a small contained of a couple of petunia plants, and I wasn't even aware they are petunias, till I read your hub. I had few blooms coming out this summer and since the plants were hardly about 4 inches from ground level, I was moved by those awesome blue-purple color. Now that I know about it, I will plant them profusely in larger containers and want to see my terrace glow. As it is very hot and humid weather in Kolkata too, do you think I can really have a nice bed of these flowers - if done in large containers? Voted up and sharing.

Catherine Dean (author) from Milledgeville, Georgia on August 16, 2012:

Yes, they will thrive in any soil I am sure. They do in our yard. Just be careful you want a lot of them wherever you plant them.

precy anza from USA on August 16, 2012:

Those flowers are beautiful! Now you making me want them as you mentioned hummingbirds loves them and they are drought tolerant :) Would they thrive on poor soil too? Voted up!

Catherine Dean (author) from Milledgeville, Georgia on August 13, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It can be grown as an annual in colder climates. I have read if you mulch really well, some plants can survive even frozen ground. Don't know if that is true, since our ground has never got even close to freezing.

Catherine Dean (author) from Milledgeville, Georgia on August 13, 2012:

It can be grown as an annual for colder climates. How cool that you live in the Ukraine. What a country rich in history and brave people. Thanks for commenting.

Claudia Mitchell on August 13, 2012:

This looks lovely, but not sure if it would grow where I am. Adds some nice height to the garden too. Nice hub!

Pavlo Badovskyi from Kyiv, Ukraine on August 13, 2012:

I love petunias, but alas those which grow here are not perennials.... Is a Mexican petunia an annual plant too? It does not grow here in Ukraine.

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