Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Desert Petunia, Florida Bluebells, Mexican Petunia, Mexican Blue Bells
Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie Blue'

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ruellia (roo-EL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: brittoniana (brit-toh-nee-AY-na) (Info)
Cultivar: Katie Blue

One vendor has this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

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

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Dogs_N_Petunias
Thumbnail #1 of Ruellia brittoniana by Dogs_N_Petunias

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Ruellia brittoniana by palmbob

By YeeFam
Thumbnail #3 of Ruellia brittoniana by YeeFam


2 positives
No neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive poeciliopsis On Feb 28, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- Katie blue Ruellia brittoniana is a very tough plant. It grows in the ground in our garden in a harsh location -- a narrow bed between a concrete walk and a brick patio, in full sun in summer and partial shade in winter. For many years it was watered sporadically, but is now on a drip system and has become more robust. We cover it during the hardest freezes, because below 30 the tops will be damaged. During our coldest winters (lows in mid 20s F) it has sometimes sustained substantial damage, but has bounced back.

Positive YeeFam On May 1, 2013, YeeFam from Spring, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This variety is short mounding plants when grown in bright shade to full sun. In shade, bit taller and broader leaves.

I have them growing in beds around trees and bushes - nice ground cover if that is what you need/want.

Once established - will tolerate drought - evergreen in Tomball, TX (northwest of Houston, TX).

Have some growing in containers - doing very nicely -

Negative mig0007 On Apr 11, 2012, mig0007 from Houston, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I too was awed by the fantastic show of purple flowers...then the second year came around and before I actually realized it, the plant doubled in size and started sending up shoots 1-2 feet away. I tried to keep it in check but it became a constant battle. I just came in from digging a hole about 5 foot around and 18 inches deep. This was how big the root structure got in 2 years...from now on, if I want to have another one, it will forever remain in a planter.

Negative aggiebot5 On Oct 12, 2010, aggiebot5 from College Station, TX wrote:

I must second the evil/invasive comment below. This plant is escaping and becoming established and problematic in the Houston area. It's gorgeous, but we really don't need another exotic weed in Texas.

Negative FernByron On Jun 29, 2010, FernByron from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I once had a thriving fern garden on the shady side of the house. I added a four Mexican Petunias to add a few flowers. They were located off to a corner. Two years later---I had a full, thriving garden of these and only a few ferns. Be careful where you plant this harmless little plant. It is evil and subtle. SAN ANTONIO, TX


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

Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Cabot, Arkansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Evans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Barnsdall, Oklahoma
Conway, South Carolina
Baytown, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Cleburne, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
San Angelo, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
Spring, Texas
Wells, Texas

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