Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Philippine Violet
Barleria cristata

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Barleria (bar-LEER-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: cristata (kris-TAY-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Barleria polytricha

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

32 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 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:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Barleria cristata by Floridian

By Dinu
Thumbnail #2 of Barleria cristata by Dinu

By Dinu
Thumbnail #3 of Barleria cristata by Dinu

By Dinu
Thumbnail #4 of Barleria cristata by Dinu

By Dinu
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By Calalily
Thumbnail #6 of Barleria cristata by Calalily

By OlgaN
Thumbnail #7 of Barleria cristata by OlgaN

There are a total of 37 photos.
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13 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Joeygo On Oct 15, 2014, Joeygo from New Port Richey, FL wrote:

Great little plant. I keep it on my east facing patio mixed in with a bunch of other potted plants. It's not much to look at when not in bloom, but I like the fact that it's not real common. But when it's in bloom (as it is now in mid October), it is really attractive. It has those rich green leaves and even a small plant will have dozens of those little violet flowers. It's low maintenance too. Many of the plants around it have aphids, scale, etc and this plant has never caught a thing. I've never seen it wilt, even when I miss a watering. It's a good low maintenance plant that puts on a nice (if not overwhelming) show in Oct/Nov.

Positive magpie38 On Oct 20, 2012, magpie38 from Houston, TX wrote:

Very hard to find, but it was worth the effort. This year it waited until mid-October to start blooming, and it's lovely. Have not noticed any invasive tendencies.

Neutral vossner On Sep 23, 2012, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Susceptible to root rot disease when overwatered. I got so tired of trimming rotted branches that I finally yanked the shrubs. However, I will spend the next few years pulling out seedlings. Not a biggie, as they're easy to pull. I'm rating as neutral b/c these shrubs generated too much work in my garden.

Positive bohnnco On May 28, 2011, bohnnco from Houston, TX wrote:

I love this plant for its deep foliage and late summer/fall blooms. It is very hardy in 9a. We had to back-to-back harsh winters, it died to the ground and was one of the first to show its head in early March. In Houston, they enjoy some afternoon shade or dappled sun.

Positive tuffy09 On Sep 5, 2010, tuffy09 from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

I love this plant! It's easy to care for and adds color to my yard late in the season and easy to shape into what ever you want. I braided it and made a little tree.I've shaped it into spears.Every year I do something different with it. I don't understand why they call this plant invasive.I've had mine planted in my yard for 18 years.I've never had another pop up. I planted one and I still have only one.In fact the only way I've found to make another is by rooting cuttings.I've also read that it is nearly impossible to start from seeds and that alot of people get it confused with the Ruellia, a plant that reseeds prolifically and sends up huge quantities of volunteers.Every place I see this for sale they say it's a rare plant cause it won't come from seed only clippings.This is the only site I've found that calls it invasive.

Positive Kiyzersoze On May 31, 2010, Kiyzersoze from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have had several of these plants in my yard for years. Small plants do pop up around the flower beds but I do not find them a problem. They will tolerate being cut way back to keep them to a tolerable size. Flowers are a great blue/purple color and they have a long flowering period. I thought about tearing them out this year because they are old plants and have started to get stalky underneath but couldn't do it once the new summer growth and flowers started coming. They do have sharp parts on them somewhere but I would not call them thorns so I would use gloves when handling them.

Positive bericho On Sep 25, 2009, bericho wrote:

I love this plant - and yes it seeds prolifically which is great. It transplants well. They do need to be cut back fairly stringently before the growth season starts (I cut mine back in March here in Sarasota, Fl) or else they get leggy. They do best in partial shade, though I have them also growing in full sun. In the shade, the foliage gets dark lush green and the leaves get larger than in the sun.
Will try rooting from cuttings since I read this works well.

Positive fullsun007 On Jul 26, 2009, fullsun007 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

This is a great plant. I have been growing this in my zone 8B garden for almost 3 years, Each 'winter' it gets knocked back and it bounces back ever spring. Here in north central Florida it blooms from October-November. The blooms tend to last longer if plant in a more shady location. Both the blue and alba form, form a 4-5 foot clump after a while. I like to pair the blue form in a planting with winter cassia as the sulphur butterflies love both. They easily root in moist soil with an application of rooting hormone. I have not had problems with seedlings, but my yard is heavily mulched. I think it provides a nice splash of color. You can create a patriotic planting with the blue and white philippine violet along with red fire spike as they all in bloom at a similar time in zone 8B.

Neutral FishMang On Jan 26, 2007, FishMang from Grant Valkaria, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Easy to grow, and pretty. This could be a great plant instead of a nice one, if it had a nice sweet scent.

Positive htop On Mar 2, 2006, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

My Philippine violet has performed excellently the 2 years I have had it. It has bloomed briefly in the late spring and heavily in late summer until late fall or the first frost. It has not reseeded itself where it is planted probably because it has a heavy layer of mulch around it. The seedpods (seed pods) are found hidden amongst the dried bracts. They are black (or dark, dark brown), 5/8 of an inch long by 1/8 of an inch wide, and quite hard. Inside the seedpods are 2 roundish lighter colored seeds. They have a spring action mechanism that disperses the seeds from the seedpods after the seedpods dry and crack open (much like Mexican honeysuckle seeds do - see photo of the Mexican honeysuckle seedpod in the PlantFiles).

Update: June 29, 2010 - due to an extremely cold winter, my plant froze to the ground even though I covered it with blankets after pruning it down to about 2 feet; however, it has returned from the roots and is doing great. I have had a couple of babies come up from seed. They are easily dug up and I have shared them with friends.

Negative IslandJim On Nov 7, 2004, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I hate to label any plant as invasive but this one self-seeds with abandon and is one of two or three plants that have made me a regular customer for RoundUp. It is pretty, however.

Positive bivbiv On Nov 7, 2004, bivbiv from Central FL, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

In Central FL this blooms in Oct. and Nov. I've been told it may bloom again in the spring.

Positive ruthm On Oct 29, 2004, ruthm from Dayton, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I received this plant last fall and kept it in the greenhouse until spring. It is 4 feet tall now and covered with blue flowers. The yellow sulphers love it.

Positive aking1a On Sep 9, 2004, aking1a from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

A very tidy, 5 ft shrub which is a little shy of its first birthday. The dark green foliage is superb. And, I have seen no disease or insect problems of any kind. So far, I have 100% success on propagating from cuttings.

Positive delphiniumdiva On Jun 27, 2004, delphiniumdiva from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Love this plant! - Foliage beautiful dark green, nice round shape shrub, evergreen - flowers a nice extra. Provides excellent foliage contrast. Roots very easily in damp soil. Will take full shade or sun.

Positive Kaufmann On Oct 13, 2003, Kaufmann from GOD's Green Earth
United States (Zone 8b) wrote:

I didn't know what this plant was until today, thanks to "Floridian" at the identification forum. I have this planted in full shade and it has done extremely well. Its in full bloom for the second time this year, and a prolific reseeder. I'm very satisfied with this plant.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 26, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant is not native to the U.S. Zones 8b - 11. Prefers partial shade or partial sun to full sun; soil should be moist.


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

Mesa, Arizona
Alameda, California
Fullerton, California
Temecula, California
Apopka, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)
Cape Coral, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Cocoa, Florida
Cross City, Florida
Deland, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida (2 reports)
Floral City, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Hawthorne, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Inverness, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (3 reports)
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Malabar, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Miami, Florida
Naples, Florida (2 reports)
New Port Richey, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Panama City Beach, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Port Richey, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida (2 reports)
Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)
Spring Hill, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Titusville, Florida
Venice, Florida
Wauchula, Florida (2 reports)
Wellborn, Florida
Schererville, Indiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bossier City, Louisiana
Gonzales, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Metairie, Louisiana
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Las Vegas, Nevada
Lawrence, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Mason, Ohio
Johns Island, South Carolina
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Alvin, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Bayside, Texas
Belton, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Dayton, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Humble, Texas
Kurten, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Plano, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (3 reports)
Spring, Texas (2 reports)
Sugar Land, Texas

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