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Garden Talk: Mexican Petunias?Invasive

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North Fort Myers, FL

August 20, 2009
3:05 AM

Post #6967098

I'm relatively new to gardening and attempting to create a reasonably low maintainece garden for my folks in SW Fla.There is an area that is cutoff from any other plants on the NW corner of the property that Mexican Petunias would fit perfectly.From what I've read they require little in the way of daily care and I'll be able to cut them back on the days I'm there.My concern is I've also read they are on an invasive species list.Not quite sure how to proceed ???Any help would be much appreciated.Thanks
Sebastopol, CA
(Zone 9a)

August 20, 2009
3:23 AM

Post #6967150

I'm assuming Mexican petunias are Ruellia brittoniana. Is that right? I think if you're near any wetlands they might cause problems there. Birds and the wind might carry the seeds to vulnerable locations. I can hardly keep them alive here, but I'm in a very dry climate.
Baton Rouge, LA

August 20, 2009
3:30 AM

Post #6967166

Jonnie, I have Ruellia (Mexican Petunia) in two varieties. One is basically naturalized and was here when we purchased the home. It is taller and has a blue flower. It's pretty much evergreen here, but if a frost hits, you can cut it back and it will bounce right back. In Fort Myers, you will have lush Ruellia... not the problems that Zuzu has had with hers. I keep mine contained fairly easily by sinking aluminum flashing down in the ground in a circle around where I wanted it to grow. That kept the runners from pushing it to new areas. I haven't noticed any popping up in other areas in my garden, and we have birds galore here. So, I believe it spreads more by runners than by wind. I also have the shorter Ruellia, the cultivar Katie Blue. It's much, much shorter... a true evergreen groundcover with sweet flowers. You can get Katie in blue, pink or white cultivars. In my experience, the shorter cultivar is a lot more eager to spread out. It seems to just jump over whatever you use to try to keep it contained from spreading by the roots. Regardless, it tough and even stands up well to foot traffic... so I'm a big fan. HTH! Evey =)
North Fort Myers, FL

August 20, 2009
3:38 AM

Post #6967186

Ruellia Tweediana is the variety in question.And thank you for the speedy replies.I had the idea to sink a border on the one side of the area not contained by brick.I just didn't want to be part of the invasive species problem here in Fl.:)I wound up with 2 plants that piggybacked on some crotons a friend gave me and quickly seperated them and they are gorgeous can't wait to start rooting some cuttings and getting the next area planted.Thanks again.
Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

August 24, 2009
2:32 PM

Post #6982644

I have had a terrible problem with the pink variety, Chi Chi, being unbelievably invasive. I pulled it all out at least 6 of 7 years ago and I am still battling it. That one does spread by seeds; at least it did for me. The low, groundcover varieties have needed no containment here and the regular purple variety is very easy contain. I will have to look up R. tweediana, I am not familiar with that one.

Just checked R. tweediana is AKA R. brittoniana Don't you just hate it when they keep changing the names on plants.

This message was edited Aug 24, 2009 10:35 AM
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

September 7, 2009
4:02 AM

Post #7034845

I don't know if it matters to contain the roots when the seeds pop and spread. The good thing is they pull up fairly easily when the soil is moist. The only Ruellia I have found that doesn't spread freely is a white Katie. I've tried to start seeds with no luck.
Baytown, TX
(Zone 9b)

September 14, 2009
7:38 PM

Post #7063714

Ruellia Tweediana is a nightmare. you can dig it up and pull it up but if you leave 1/4th inch of root you have to start all over. It got in my Crinum, It got into my Daylilies you name it. I had to take a rubber glove and wear a cheap winter glove over it. I bought liquid tree and brush killer and poured it on the winter glove. I rubbed down the Ruellia Tweediana and then rubbed it back up the stock until the leaves and stock are totally soaked and coated making sure not to drip it on any other plant.

It killed it down through the entire root. I had to do each piece like that. Eventually it was completely dead. It took a long time and again I had to do it to get the strays that came up from where I tried to dig it up. That brush killer is not cheap. But it works on poison Ivy also.
Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

September 14, 2009
9:40 PM

Post #7064163

The worst part is the way it invades other plants. I had trouble too with it coming up in the crowns of things like agapanthus. Your idea of the gloves is a good one Sandy.
Baytown, TX
(Zone 9b)

September 15, 2009
7:41 PM

Post #7067653

ardesia Thank you. It was another DGer told me to use that on the poison Ivy my neighbor is letting grow over my fence like a huge umbrella so I did that and thought why not with the Ruellia Tweediana. It worked and I did not lose all my other plants in the process. I hated it in between the Crinums. It is no longer a nightmare.

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