Barleria Species, Bluebell Barleria, Crested Philippine Violet, Enana, 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 caerulea
Synonym:Barleria cavaleriei
Synonym:Barleria chegosa
Synonym:Barleria ciliata
Synonym:Barleria laciniata
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:



White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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


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)

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Floral City, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hawthorne, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Inverness, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(3 reports)

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lady Lake, 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

Zephyrhills, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 14, 2018, duffy072312 from Wilmington, NC wrote:

I've had Barleria cristata planted for four years now in Wilmington, NC. I'm probably a Zone 8b because I'm on the Intracoastal Waterway with a mile or more of marshes and creeks between me and the Atlantic Ocean.
Last winter we had temperatures as low as 11 degrees. Cold for here, really cold. But I wanted to let Barleria fans know that all three of my plants returned for me and now stand about 3.5 ft tall. They likely won't bloom until late September, early October, but they are always a treat and I get lots of comments.
Love the healthy robustness of it's leaves and flowers. Many other plants have yellowed and died out with the massive amount of rain we've had this year, but so far the Barleria hasn't even had a yellowed leaf.
And oh, yes, I have only had one ... read more


On Oct 8, 2015, lynngriff from Lady Lake, FL wrote:

I first saw this plant growing in my mother-in-law's yard in Ft. Myers. She had a small plant growing along the driveway. It was in the wrong spot so I transplanted it for her. When I dug it up, a section of the root system separated so I took that section home to Lady Lake and planted it. It has thrived in my yard for almost 10 years. My mother-in-law is gone now, but I have this plant to remind me of her every time I see it. I have noticed volunteers here and there in my yard, but I don't mind that one bit. I keep the ones that landed in the right place and transplant the others to a place where they can live a good long life. I do trim the plants several times a year to keep them bushy. And they do not like our winters here in central Florida. I trim them back to the ground in... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 s... read more


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.


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.