Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ganges Primrose, Chinese violet, Creeping Foxglove
Asystasia gangetica

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Asystasia (a-sys-TAH-zee-uh) (Info)
Species: gangetica (gan-GET-ee-kuh) (Info)

Synonym:Justicia gangetica
Synonym:Asystasia bojeriana
Synonym:Asystasia coromandeliana

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

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:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost
By simple layering
By stooling or mound layering

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

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By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Asystasia gangetica by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #2 of Asystasia gangetica by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #3 of Asystasia gangetica by Monocromatico

By htop
Thumbnail #4 of Asystasia gangetica by htop

By htop
Thumbnail #5 of Asystasia gangetica by htop

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #6 of Asystasia gangetica by Monocromatico

By jnana
Thumbnail #7 of Asystasia gangetica by jnana

There are a total of 20 photos.
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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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

The Chinese violet (not really in the violet family), a subshrub herb, is also known as Ganges primrose, creeping foxglove, coromandel and false snapdragon. Its original native range is India, the Malay Peninsula and Africa. It is a perennial and becoming naturalized in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin islands and some parts of Florida and an annual in colder regions. The leaves are a light green, somewhat oval but pointed on the ends. The only cultivar I have observed is the one I posted above. It is about 18 to 20 inches tall, but the plant can grow to 3 feet tall depending upon the cultivar and the locale in which it is growing. It can attain a width of 2 to 3 feet depending upon the cultivar and the locale in which it is growing.

The 1 to 1.5 inch in diameter, deep throated blooms stand above the foliage and come in a variety of colors including rhe greenish-yellow I posted, cream with purple markings, white, white with purple and yellow markings, lavender, pale purple, light blue with yellow markings and pinkish purple. The throat can be white, cream, yellow or pale purple. I am sure there are other bloom colors with different colored markings as well. Some cultivars are sweetly scented with the fragrance being especially strong in the evening. Bees are especially attracted to the blooms. Butterflies and humingbirds visit them also.

It blooms profusely from spring until fall. In consistently warm climates, it blooms all year and attains a larger size. It produces 3/4 to 1 inch seedpods which have jaculators upon which the seeds rest which explosively hurl the seed out of the seedpod as the carpels separate. It can be propagated by stem cuttings. Plant stems (runners)touching the soil root by themselves which spreads the plant naturally. Snipping a piece, dipping it in a root stimulator such as Root-Tone, potting the cutting and keeping the soil moist should do the trick. Starting with a cutting that has roots already starting to grow should hasten the process.

Not picky about soil types, it appears to not require a lot of water (the greenish-yellow blooming one I posted), it grows prolifically in filtered shade and less so in full sun. It thrives in morning sun and afternoon filtered shade. I do not know if it will grow in full shade, but I doubt it. I have researched sites that state that other types of Chinese violet require consistently moist soil during hot weather. Because I have not grown the plant myself yet, I can not confirm this for the greenish-yellow bloomer.

It is usually used as a spreading ground cover, but I think it would be an excellent container or hanging basket plant. Although I have not been able to locate a source for this plant in my area, I have found several on-line plant sources on the east coast where several types of cultivar are available. I have collected seeds and snipped a few cuttings from the light yellow blooming type that were growing at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (had obtained permission to do so) and will post whether I have successfully propagated some plants.

I observed a dark purple type in Maui, Hawaii which was was prolifically blooming and have posted photos.

Update: 12/29/08
I started several light yellowish-green blooming plants from both cuttings and seed. They prospered for several years in morning sun and filtered afternoon shade. During times of drought, they needed supplemental watering. The plants died after several hard, sustained freezes one winter after I forgot to protect them.

Positive Monocromatico On Apr 30, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I got this plant from stem cutting. This is a rather short shrub, fast and easy growing, constantly blooming all over the year. Needs frequent watering. Its flowers are a mix of white, light yellow, sometimes getting light violet petals. Beautiful when covering fences


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

Juno Beach, Florida
North De Land, Florida
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
San Antonio, Texas

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