Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ruellia, Wild Petunia, Brazilian Petunia
Ruellia elegans

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ruellia (roo-EL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: elegans (ELL-eh-ganz) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

26 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 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:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

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

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Calalily
Thumbnail #1 of Ruellia elegans by Calalily

By htop
Thumbnail #2 of Ruellia elegans by htop

By dstartz
Thumbnail #3 of Ruellia elegans by dstartz

By dstartz
Thumbnail #4 of Ruellia elegans by dstartz

By dstartz
Thumbnail #5 of Ruellia elegans by dstartz

By dstartz
Thumbnail #6 of Ruellia elegans by dstartz

By htop
Thumbnail #7 of Ruellia elegans by htop

There are a total of 18 photos.
Click here to view them all!


9 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive santamiller On May 12, 2014, santamiller from San Antonio, TX wrote:

The first two years it was slow to get really established but this year it has really gotten a firm hold and looks great. It gets dappled sun with a few hours of direct, hot afternoon sun. The flowers are really red and beautiful.

Neutral bevcat6 On May 26, 2013, bevcat6 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

The first night I planted this in my garden the deer ate every bud. It now looks pretty pathetic with only a few leaves left. If it comes back I will hang a a bar of Life Boy soap next to it which works for me. I didn't do this when I planted because I read that it was deer resistant.

Neutral jazzy1okc On Oct 29, 2012, jazzy1okc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

Although warned that this plant would not be perennial in 7a or 7b, I planted one plant against the south side of our brick house several years ago. Since then, it has run rampant and choked out everything in that bed except a pyracantha. I really don't mind, as it is lovely against the red brick, but those thinking about planting it need to consider that this is a plant that LOVES a nice warm spot and a micro climate will do nicely.

Positive trackinsand On Jun 14, 2009, trackinsand from mid central, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

hasn't stopped blooming since the day it arrived. i watered well every day the first 2 weeks and after that it only gets rain or the twice a week watering i'm allowed due to restrictions.

it's in my rose garden, flanked by daylily and lavendula pinnata. i love it!

Positive janetplanet On Oct 23, 2005, janetplanet from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

Beautiful red flowers that can take the hot humidity, flower pretty well in part shade. And best of all you can CUT AND STICK THEM IN THE GROUND and they will take without even wilting, uh so far .. . Love those cut and poke plants!

Positive michaeladenner On Sep 18, 2005, michaeladenner from Deland, FL wrote:

It's an awkward time here in Central Florida -- September and October are transitional months, where the hot weather annuals have died or are leggy and failing, but it's too hot and dry to plant anything new. I have this Ruellia in a pot, partial sun/bright light. It continues to put off new growth and bloom well, though not prolifically. Very drought and heat tolerant so far -- it's thriving in a quart pot, so dries out despite daily watering. Someone here says it has dark-green leaves -- my plant has what I would call bright-green leaves, pinnate, very sage-like. Nice plant, and if it isn't invasive as most Ruellia are, it will make a great addition to my garden.

Positive vskipper On Jul 25, 2005, vskipper from Macon, GA wrote:

I have had this plant 3 years and it has survived the winters here in zone 8. I had to move it at the worst possible time (mid July) because of construction work but it barely wilted. I did cut it back so it would not have so much foliage to support. It is hard to find so I really hope it establishes and survives. In the meantime, I am trying to root several just in case.

Positive chnall On Jul 7, 2005, chnall from Dallas, TX wrote:

I planted 2 of these last year. Only one made it through the winter here in Dallas. Mine is planted among the day lillies in partial shade. It sprawls out toward the sun and looks great peeping out of the stalks of the lillies. I will buy more when I find them again.

Positive tacm On Jul 24, 2004, tacm from Mansfield, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have grown this plant in the DFW area for 3 seasons in part shade. It's a great plant and doesn't spread like other ruellias. The dark green leaves are a nice compliment to other plants and the bright red flower are showy in mass. Unless there's a hard freeze, some of the leaves stay out hugging the ground. It begins to flower about mid May nonstop thru fall. Doesn't seem to care whether it's watered or not.

Positive blumzalot On Aug 21, 2003, blumzalot from Trussville, AL wrote:

I have had this ruellia elegans in my garden for 3 years - one in full sun, one in partial shade. They both bloom later in the summer for me (zone 7), however, the one in the partial shade seems to bloom more for some reason. The one in the sun seems to show signs of heat damage. I have plans to move this one next spring. The blooms are lovely. I have installed a grow ring for support on the one in the partial shade, as it is right on the edge of a border, and the lower branches get in the way of the lawn mower and the whole plant tends to flop after rain. I just like to keep it up as much as possible, as it is so lush and prolific. Very drought tolerant

Positive htop On Aug 21, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, TX
After completing my perusal of a garden center specializing in Texas native plants, I was thinking "I wish I could find a shockingly bright red blooming, low growing perennial". As I turned around to leave empty handed, which is quite unusual for me, I spied the most beautiful red blooms on this unique plant. God had granted my wish! You will LOVE this one if you can find it!!!

This plant is native to Brazil. It has bright red leaning toward scarlet (the "Rio Red" variety) trumpet shaped five-petaled 1 to 2 inch flowers which resemble salvia greggi flowers in shape. They appear on 6 to 8 inch wand-like stems. The upper petals tend to flare out and back, while the lower one curls out and downward. The blooms, loved by butterflies and hummingbirds, appear from May until frost. It will take light frosts and dies back at about 28 degrees (is root hardy to Zone 8). It forms a 12 inch high by 24 inch in diameter mound of soft green, semi-fuzzy foliage. It takes awhile for the clump to spread and, of course, the larger the clump the more flowers you have. The leaves are large and the plant does not resemble common species of ruellia such as Mexican petunia. Usually called "elegant ruellia", it also is known as Thai Ruellia and Brazilian Petunia.

An outstanding tough continual bloomer, it performs great in our heat and humidity preferring full sun; although it grows in light shade with a decrease in blooms. It likes moist, well drained soils. I rate it a 10+++ on a 10 point scale.


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

Dothan, Alabama
Trussville, Alabama
Richmond, California
Roseville, California
Apopka, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Deland, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Longwood, Florida
Sebastian, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Valrico, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Macon, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Barbourville, Kentucky
Brusly, Louisiana
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Madison, Mississippi
St John, Mississippi
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Conway, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Alice, Texas
Austin, Texas
Belton, Texas
Coppell, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Leander, Texas
Linden, Texas
Longview, Texas
Mansfield, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (3 reports)
Spring, Texas

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America