Mexican Petunia?

North Fort Myers, FL

Being new to gardening in general and even newr to Dave's forums I've already asked this question but in the wrong place.I received 2 Mexican Petunias accidently on some Crotons a friend gave me.After reading a bit about them i got them away from the Crotons and into a place I can can keep them contained.I have also since learned they are on a list of invasive plants here in Fla.Here's the catch I really enjoy the plant and have a place in my garden they would be AWESOME but don't want to be part of the invasive plant(or animal)problem here.Can someone clarify this issue for me or suggest an alternative.The area I'd like to use them in is completely surrounded by brick and I would make every effort to keep them in that area only.Any input would be appreciated before moving forward TY:)

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

ok well its a sticky situation if they are banned it would be better not to grow them, but if you just die over them well contain and dead head so the birds do not eat the seeds and poop them in other places which in turn will do exactly when the state doesnt want which is spread and destroy natural habitat which birds and plant trive in.

I am from new brunswick canada someone decided to grow purple loosestife which is a nice enough plant but also invasive, they did not take proper care of their plants and allowed the plants to seed freely now it has destroyed 10 of thousands of acres of natural habitat choaking out all the natives plants,

now the choices are be a very deligent gardener or get rid of the plant making sure no seeds are left or made

North Fort Myers, FL

From what i can gather reading about them the flowers are sterile.I'm not quite sure how they would get to areas very far from where i keep them?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Where did you see that the flowers are sterile? They definitely can spread by seed. If you were looking at named cultivars of Ruellia in Plant Files and saw it listed as "plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed", that line means that the plant fits in one of those three categories...and for named cultivars, they generally don't come true from seed so that's why they get listed that way.

North Fort Myers, FL

I believe i read it here on DG.If Ruellia Tweediana can be spread by seed I simply won't plant it.I'm a noob gardener but an avid fisherman/reef keeper/reptile keeper and invasives are not something I want to help.Thanks for the help:)

North Fort Myers, FL

Can someone suggest an alternative.It's on the NW corner of the house gets LOTS of sun and i have a few rain catchers so watering isn't and issue.I love the form of the plant and the flowers.

Waynesboro, MS(Zone 8a)

I only have the pink ones coming up from seed
I have not yet seen a purple seedling

Altus, OK(Zone 7a)

Same here Johnniefish. I love the form of the plant and the flowers too.

If you decide to get rid of them, check out my tradelist and see if there is anything there you'd be interested in.

LOL. Seems like the only thing I can plant that thrives in this area ARE what people say are invasives.

(Zone 1)

Such a beautiful plant, but Ruellia tweediana (syn. brittoniana) is listed as a Cat 1 Invasive in Florida: and what I DON'T understand is it is always found in every garden center I visit!

Here's the 2009 list for Florida Invasive Plants:

North Fort Myers, FL

TY plantladylin that was the definitive answer i was looking for.And not only is it in every garden store I shop in I've seen it used by the County here in some road plantings recently done?:( I'm now torn on what to do with the few I have growing out front.I started them before i became aware they were an issue.I certainly won't be adding any.

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

my advice is make sure to dead head as much as possible and the ones you miss collect the seeds

North Fort Myers, FL

wise man once tolg me the only way to learn anything is to ask so here goes:)The gardening hobby is new to me and the term deadhead could use some explanation.I gather it's cutting a plant but exactly where and when to cut?

Waynesboro, MS(Zone 8a)

Deadheading is cutting or pinching off the spent flower or seed pod

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

yup that is about it I do it also since it promotes more booms so annuals keep blooming and not go to seeds and with perennials it keeps them blooming for longer also

Citra, FL(Zone 9a)

Isn't it strange that nurseries sell invasives? makes me sick. Also makes me crazy that most people in the nurseries haven't a clue about invasives (don't even want to hear it) or natives. Leastways, that's been my experience to date. Heck, invasives are passed around DG daily and try to inform some folks and you get jumped....

Just because WE don't SEE seedlings under our noses, doesn't mean they aren't out there somewhere. To think we see everything in our little circle of life's intentional blindness...

I just moved to FL and that purple petunia is everywhere and since I must have all things purple, I was excited, until I looked it up. I suspect there are many, many alternatives in this climate to having invasives, though more and more plants suggested to me are turning out to be invasive. Sad.

I'm disappointed to learn that many Elephant Ears are also invasive...they are growing wild everywhere. I just bought some from a DG classified - I'll keep a tight eye on them, dig 'em when I leave, and put some notice about getting rid of them if I die suddenly, or maybe, now that I know, I will write it off as "tuition" as I should have researched before I purchased.

Johnniefish, you are relatively close to me here in FL. I love to trade and share gardening stuff!

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

that is why I dead head all plants even the ones that are not invasive since I do not want the seeds that the birds can eat to be pooped out all over the place and then they spread and cause major problems like purple loose striff on the east coast of canada it has destroyed nesting for birds has choaked out native plants and is totally out of control and it started as a garden plant gone wild yes its pretty but at what cost to nature now the lupins that use to grow wild are disapearing because of this invasive plant it is taking over swamp land destroying natural habitat for birds, ducks, and small animals since it is destroying their food sources

Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

4Paws...Elephant Ears invasive? Wow, I never knew that since where we live, they freeze if you don't dig up the bulbs. They can't invade here. Don't they send out little runners with babies on the ends - across the top of the ground? You must be a dog or cat lover with your DG name. Mine's after my collie, Han.

Thumbnail by hanseycollie
Hamburg, PA(Zone 6b)

Isn't it strange that nurseries sell invasives? But for who and where? Ummmmm nurseries sell PLANTS. Well I have never been to Florida but I sometimes don't understand why people are such on "Invasiveness" I would think that a lot of plants may seem invasive in a zone 9 climate. Where I have heard daffodils don't do well in your climate. Due to not getting enough cold. But here they can be invasive, take over, multiply fast...etc. I am really trying to understand. For instance are you saying that nurseries should sell ONLY plants that wont multiply fast in YOUR zone. Or should they do exactly what they do SELL PLANTS? Then you as the gardener decide if this plant will be good for your gardens. Will it take over due to your limited space....etc etc.

For instance...I recently bought a plant I think is absolutely gorgeous! Saddened by the PF "invasiveness critics" Thinking I had to take it in and wouldn't see it next year. It was labeled as an Annual here in my zone.

I have grown ruellia from seed and it is in no way invasive. And you wont see it growing anywhere around here unless it has been hand propagated.

Altus, OK(Zone 7a)

Kim_M -

Yeah, some of the posts seem extreme. I think a nursery SHOULD use their plant knowledge and avoid selling plants that have a known history of running rampant in their local area. Alot of gardners are oblivious to the concept of "invasives". Even though a nursery is a business they should be provide a reputable service.

But I do have a problem with the blanket tag of some plants as "invasive". It really depends on the zone as to whether some plants can become problem children.

I think this forum is good at increasing awareness about the potential for a future problem but stuff needs to be taken with a tad bit of salt.

We need to be good stewards without making it into an obessive/compulsive thing.

Anyway, glad to see your comment.


Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

actually I did some ready on this plant, and they are not sterile they do produce viable seeds but will grow the original taller plant that produces a smaller blue flower that is very invasive, if the plant is grown using part of the rizone then it will keep its color of the blue, white, pink or purple and the blooms are larger and the plant shorter

the problem comes in that they bloom like crazy producing to many seeds since like all petunias one seed head has about one hundred seeds well when that is multiplied by a few hundred flowers per plant over a growing season that is lots of seeds that birds can consume and poop out where ever they sit and do their business

I live in canada with very cold winter and I would not grow this plant to invasive to control

North Fort Myers, FL

Without dropping names I've seen theese petunias not only sold but featured at the big box home stores.The fact that I even have a small patch of these was merely coincidence.When I got involved designing and building a garden around my folks house they came piggybacked on some crotons a friend gave me.To be quite honest I've allowed the small area I got them into continue to grow because they are absolutly awesome where I put them.I do understand that it would be better if I pullled them and found a sub and I will at some point.I feee very strongly about not being a contributor to any invasive species problem be it plant,reptile,fish,animal related and as I type this it has become clear to me that I'm being hypocritical and in the morning as much as I like the little patch they will go away.I'm involved in the pet business for a living and I will practice what I preach:)They go in the morning:(

Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Good for you! I have researched mine and they are not invasive in Missouri, so will watch them closely next year once they root. I have six rescued animals so I believe in walking the talk too, Jonniefish! :^))

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

if you like them that much just make sure that you pick all the blooms as they go pass so no seeds no problem deadheading is the only way to protect the invironment from them

Citra, FL(Zone 9a)

Invasive meaning detrimental to the area's native fauna/foliage having nothing to do with humans and messing with their landscape/gardening plans. Not everything is invasive everywhere (duh!) and checking state lists is a pretty easy task.... Keeping something under control is not, but for avid, responsible gardeners, worth the effort. I will have some EE here that are on the list, but will be sure to keep them in check (I understand the roots are edible).

Yes, nurseries sell plants. In general, the people I've run into that sell PLANTS are pretty darned ignorant about their origins, particularly those who work in generic big box stores that are geared only toward money making, which means anything that sells, goes. However, it seems to me that those plants listed on states' noxious weed lists should be outlawed in those states. Seems like common sense to me, but then, I don't see a lot of common sense going on, either. That's probably going to be considered an extreme statement.

Hansey, yes, I have lots of paws around here. Thank you for asking. I had been doing rescue in my former home, but have backed off a bit on that now since I live "in town." I'll probably foster for a local shelter that cannot keep kittens/puppies under a certain age until they are old enough to stay at the shelter. Did just take in a bitty little kitten over the weekend, however. Some things don't change....or are even dictated by common sense as I really don't "need" another critter to feed and care for, but...she was needy. Perhaps if her mother's owner was responsible, she'd not be on the planet for rescuing.

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

totally agree with you, as for the box stores do what I do report them but make sure it is not a hybrid since many growers are now taking plants and hybridazing them so they are no longer invasive and selling them, I have a few plants that are weeds and I love them since with patience and trimming they will bloom all summer but I do make sure to get rid of all the spent flowers so no seeds to spread

what is a weed, well its an unwanted plant or something growing in the wrong place
I had a weed for two years and it bloomed this year the most beautifull blue flowers my sister freaked out saying it will spread everywhere well it hasnt since I have the time to take care of my garden

my dog was a rescue he was dumped off at a pet store that a friend of mine owns it was between xmas and new year he called and said he is small three to four weeks old underfed and nobody here can take him home so sucker me I went a picked up the puppy that turned out to be a pure bread jack russel terrior that came from a puppy mill and had not been around people so he was bitting everyone and I had to work with him for two years so he could become an amazing dog which he is, I adore the little guy and would never give him up, over the years I have adopted 6 different cat of different ages they all past from old age the last one is now seventeen years old and still active which is amazing for his age

Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Looks like we have quite a few 'rescue moms' on this thread. Yea for us, thanks to each of you for taking in and loving these unwanted animals. My DH and I have two dogs and four rescued cats - they are a blessing to us. Scicciarella and Four Paws are rescuers, yea for them.

Great thread on invasives, btw!

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

we have decided that when my last cat goes to kitty heaven we are adopting another jack to keep buddy company since I feel he will be very lonely when OJ passed and being 17 and frail it wont be long maybe another year

Thumbnail by scicciarella
Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Oh my goodness, Mona, your photo is so cute! Did you say your jack is 17? He can't be - he looks so young! Or is the kitty 17?

We lost our 19 year old kitty, our 17 year old kitty and tried to adopt rescues to replace them. NO. The new cats are "cats" - the reason people don't like cats, ha!

Our collie is almost 6 and our peke is 9. We'll most likely lose the collie first. I really want another to help him as he grows older (and to train to take his place as a therpy dog at the nursing home) but two collies at 100# each makes travel a bit harder.

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

the cat is 17 and the jack buddy is just turned four it was funny for a while buddy would go after the cat and get a big paw slap in the face that would send him across the floor since he was such a tiny little guy at the time a little over one pound, he soon learned that the cat would not put up with silliness from him so he now has great respect for the cat

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

I'm sorry. I'm not going to get into an argument or anything with anyone here. However, there's a huge difference between what's aggressive and what's invasive, and what's a weed. To say a daffodil is invasive because the bulbs increased, is not correct. A daffodil won't be spread by seed from your plant into your neighbors gardens or in the cracks of the sidewalks, or even in the gutters.

This is probably the best explanation I've seen here at DG regarding the meaning behind the word....

Garden centers, big box stores, all will sell something that's invasive in the state you live. Why? They can. A long time ago when I was a novice gardener, I wanted the honeysuckle that my grandma had. I didn't know that it was an invasive honeysuckle, banned for sale here in the state of IL. I was able to buy it though. At a local mom and pop nursery. Everybody know Bradford Pear? Invasive here in IL, invasive in a lot of states. It's sold at every single nursery I've been to, except for the native/indigenous nursery I go to.

I don't know, it's not up to me. We all have to decide for ourselves. I want to start it here, in my own backyard. So for me, I won't plant anything that's invasive. I made the choice when we moved into this house to go with all indigenous plants. I have a couple that were given to me by a friend that aren't invasive, but I've never heard of an iris or a mum to be invasive ^_^

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

at my last home I grew a primrose that I liked very much it never became a problem but started a different color here and it is a major problem and this was the first year so I have decided that in the spring I will move the other perennials in the bed then wipe that primrose right of this earth I pulled and pulled all summer and it didnt make a dent in so when it is starting to grow next spring wipe out should take care of it, it also kept me very busy dead heading since I wanted to make sure it did not seed which would mean the problem would be harder to get rid of

Citra, FL(Zone 9a)

terryr, I've made the same decision, as best I can....not to grow known invasives. I've come to the conclusion in most things, after years of rabble rousing in a different way, to spend more time modeling my beliefs and doing my best in my own back yard. Helps to relieve some of the frustration of the outside world.

Now, I didn't consider that what nurseries are selling could be hybrids that do not invade....have to look at that Mexican Petunia at Lowe's again, cause it sure is gorgeous.

Good for all you good hearted people, rescuers of plants, pets, and our planet.
My eldest love will be 18 years old next month. She is a schnauzer fence jumper cross and she lives on attention, affection, and boundless love. :-)

Don't we all thrive on those things?

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

I did some reasearch and what they sell is actually a hybrid but when it seeds those are the original wild plant which will spread and invade so the only way is to dead head every single flower and to make sure you do not miss any which is a lot of work

find something else

Citra, FL(Zone 9a)

that's what I would say, too....
Thank you for doing the research.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

It would be tricky to deadhead Mexican petunias. Every evening they drop that day's blooms.

Four years ago we planted MP's. Had I known they were considered invasive, I wouldn't have done that. Now I'm glad I didn't know because, although they've spread, they're growing exactly where I want them to be. I've never found one growing outside the bounds of their "patch." They haven't interfered with the health of the other plants near them, so we've let them grow in peace. When they bloom, it's my pleasure every morning to look down upon them from an upstairs window to see if there are more flowers than the day before.

Waynesboro, MS(Zone 8a)

I believe I will keep mine.
They[the purple] are the only thing blooming now and the butterflys love them.
I have had them 10 years and only found six seedligs from the pink variety
These were found in well watered beds of daylilies.
I'll trade my morning glories,privet,honey suckle,tallow tree,china berry,florida betony,dayflower,mimosa,oaks,chesnuts,chamber pod and nut grass any day for MP.

This message was edited Nov 24, 2009 4:39 PM

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

I too have made the decision not to plant anything on Indiianas do not plant list,had purple loose strife,nomore,had english ivy ,nomore, its sad some are so beautiful ,like the bradford pear, They must be a soft tree also,neibors had their drive lined with them for almost 10yrs, well 5 yrs before they started getting ripped apart from the wind,each yr they would lose 1/2 or awhole tree,they cut the last 1 down 2 weeks ago,she worked at the landscape center that the trees came from,Ill bet she wont plant those again,sad I will miss the beautiful spring show

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

huggergirl, they aren't so beautiful when you drive in S TN and look up to the mountains in the spring and see all the Bradford Pear trees that escaped cultivation and are taking over the mountainside.

Mona in Metcalfe, ON(Zone 5a)

they are also not nice in new brunswick when they destroyed most of the wild orchids
I grew up looking for all the different colored lady slipper orchids and use to find all kinds from early spring to early summer now they are almost never found and in the area where I am from they havent been seen in 10 years because of those purple loose strife
also in some areas no more lupins


Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

OMG, I havent seen or maybe I have just didnt know it,BP taking over areas,the whole invasive thing is just sad ,somethings so beautiful,but soo almost deadly in a way. I planted purple loose strife ,and then read an article ,then I pulled it up and burned it,in the same season,that was 10 yrs ago.What has choked out the lupins ?? I hate to say this but friends of mine had owned a landscape center,It seems to me he had a tendncy to plant alot of certain things,like the BP,and english ivy,that always makes me cringe,and butterfly bush,austrian pines.He was not an educated landscaper,he was an EMT !!!! I do my best not to plant the bad guys ,when Iam in doubt i go to Daves and ask !!!

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