Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ruellia, Water Bluebell
Ruellia squarrosa

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ruellia (roo-EL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: squarrosa (skwa-RO-suh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Mid Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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4 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive 0_0_0 On Aug 31, 2014, 0_0_0 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:

Super-easy to grow, even in 100+ degrees.

Negative KristifromDavie On Apr 30, 2008, KristifromDavie from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

This plant is extremely invasive in FLA and I think it should be banned here. I've had it for over five years. At first, it was nice, easy to manage. Now it is unruly and I cringe when I see them. It will grow through your grass, all other plants and root systems of trees and is extremely difficult to kill.
Weed kill didn't work, vinegar didn't. I will try salt next.
You probably have to quaratine a large area where they are growing to really get rid of them. Where they have grown through the roots of my palms, I will forever be pulling at this awful plant to rid the sight of them.
The roots grow long and even an inch of this plant left in the ground will bring it back to life! Stay away from this plant if you love your garden.

Neutral htop On Apr 12, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Ruellia squarrosa is also commonly known as creeping ruellia, trailing ruellia, creeping blue bell and blue shade. It is native to the central region of Mexico.

Positive brentwasham On May 13, 2005, brentwasham from San Antonio, TX wrote:

Will grow (and bloom) in shade but individual plant clumps don't spread out much locally and can get "leggy" with time; they prefer sun. Little plants tend to pop up all over since they spread by seed. I have transplanted many from sparse grass to sunny beds with great results. They grow where you plant them and frequently pop-up where you don't.

Positive squeaky57 On Oct 21, 2002, squeaky57 wrote:

Very hardy in sunny, hot locations in North Texas/Southern Oklahoma. I have had these dwarfs for several years and the more I ignore them, the better they grow. Like lots of hot sun and seems to grow in any grade of soil. They multiply in the spring and throughout the rest of the summer. I pull up the babies (even soil-less) and give them to friends - I've populated half the world from 5 small plants 3 years ago. They grow well in pots also. Beautiful flowers with neat mounds don't get any easier than these!

Good Luck!

Neutral vmatonis On Aug 23, 2002, vmatonis from Redwood City, CA wrote:

I filled in the data about this plant based on the label that I found in the nursery container. AS yet, I have no personal experience with it, but I soon will.

Positive loisbeth On May 3, 2002, loisbeth wrote:

Hardy, compact returning year after year. Can stand the high Texas heat in summer yet hardy in freezing winters.

Easy maintenance. Great for a front flower border or even as a flowering ground cover along a path or sidewalk.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Miami, Florida
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
West Monroe, Louisiana
Las Vegas, Nevada
Conway, South Carolina
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Magnolia, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Portland, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Weatherford, Texas
Woodway, Texas

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