It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Desert Petunia, Florida Bluebells, Mexican Petunia, Mexican Blue Bells 'Purple Showers'

Ruellia tweediana

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ruellia (roo-EL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: tweediana (twee-dee-AH-nuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Purple Showers
Synonym:Ruellia brittoniana
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 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:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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:

By dividing the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

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

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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


Grand Bay, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Robertsdale, Alabama

Green Valley, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Boca Raton, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lake Mary, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

North Port, Florida (2 reports)

Palm Bay, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Port Richey, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Winter Garden, Florida

Guyton, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Tucker, Georgia

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Metairie, Louisiana

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Morehead City, North Carolina

Gibsonburg, Ohio

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Caguas, Puerto Rico

Georgetown, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)

Clarksville, Tennessee

Abilene, Texas

Fate, Texas

Freeport, Texas

Houston, Texas (2 reports)

Humble, Texas

Irving, Texas

Keller, Texas (2 reports)

Marble Falls, Texas

Mont Belvieu, Texas

Orange, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 28, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

'Purple Showers' is a sterile cultivar of this invasive species. It still spreads underground aggressively by rhizomes, but unlike the species it does not self-sow.

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed this species as a Category l invasive, because it has been found to invade natural areas and displace native flora. The species is native to Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. It has naturalized from Texas to South Carolina.

The accepted name for the species is Ruellia simplex. Synonyms include:
Ruellia brittoniana
R. coerulea
R. malacosperma
R. tweediana
http://www.missouribotani... read more


On Jul 1, 2012, paradisepest from Altamonte Springs, FL wrote:

Mexican Petunias are flowering well but have velvet whiteish growth all along the leaves discoloring the entire section of plants. Is this a normal thing or is it some type of blight?


On Sep 23, 2010, DBgardens from Fairfax Station, VA wrote:

I brought this plant with me from SC when I moved to VA. It is growing much taller than it did in SC and hasn't bloomed yet! It's in full sun - has been for 2 years. If it doesn't bloom next year I'm moving it out of my border bed...


On Sep 8, 2010, dirtyshovel from Lake Mary, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant may be on Florida's invasive list, but many
gardeners in Central Fl. are enjoying the purple blooms.
I began with one small shared plant and now have a full
healthy hedge of them, by transplanting volunteers that have come up from seed and moving to form the hedge. Trim them back over the winter and they are ready to bloom their heads off in early summer. The seed pods are disbursed when water hits them ; they go shooting off like little rockets.


On Jul 18, 2009, Mishal from Caguas,
Puerto Rico wrote:

This is a pretty plant, that grows well and is perfect for poor soils or dry areas.

BUT, this plant is INVASIVE, highly aggressive and all too willing to choke out any and all nearby plants. I do not notice that it attracts birds or butterflies, so it's of basically no use in an insect garden. If you want to have it, that's fine, but you must keep on top of it, and learn to identify seedlings early so they can be pulled. Because they will try to take over your garden and then some if they aren't watched.


On Jul 4, 2009, Scogebear from Boca Raton, FL wrote:

This is an aggressive plant that is very, very difficult to get rid of once it is established. I planted some in the front bed and it took me three tries to get all the roots out. I call it ground cancer...if you leave even a small piece of root, it grows. After a few years, it starts growing into the lawn and into the middle of nearby plants. I highly recommend that everyone stay away from this plant.


On Apr 11, 2008, Sabrina1978 from Gibsonburg, OH wrote:

My mom brought me a glass full of cuttings last year, from Florida (I'm in Ohio). She had bought them at a national home improvement store and loved them. I planted them a few weeks after having them, since they had done a great job of rooting in that glass. WOW what a show!!! They put out lots of flowers everyday! I have very hard clay and to see something take so well and get so big so fast is just marvelous to me. I loved them so much that I took a few cuttings in the house and let them root. In January I potted them up and stuck them in my south window. Again, doing great! Just waiting to plant them in a few weeks.....I'm planning on giving some as gifts this year as well. I would like to mention that I had these in a raised bed, albeit not composted or amended, on the south s... read more


On Sep 12, 2007, eden100 from Edinburg, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:

I bought this from a garden center in Illinois, the first I'd ever seen it sold here as an annual. It did VERY well in my poor clay soil and shot up to about 4 feet or more. I did have to put a fence around it so it didn't flop over but I didn't mind because it has not stopped flowering. It hasn't wilted from lack of water or 100 degree temps as did the rest of my garden. It will be welcome next year!


On Jul 9, 2006, junglebob from Palm Bay, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

it can become very invasive...and stores sell it all the time..i have noticed the mini took me a long time to dig it out as the roots are tough...and it's still coming has a place if one has a big yard or a good backdrop to other plants...i like the PINK better


On Jun 13, 2006, vcb1 from Melbourne Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant is on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's invasive plant list. It spreads like crazy!


On Feb 6, 2005, martaNFL from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

From the near-by church, to a basket my neighbor had discarded, to the fern pot the old basket held for me. Very, very "naturalising". My blooms have lasted several days. I keep 3pots on my porch, AWAY from other plants. * Thanks for the seed gathering info. m4


On Jun 16, 2004, shenaflorida from North Port, FL wrote:

this plant is wonderful. in my garden it is growing very well, each morning the beautiful flowers open up and add a great contrast to my other plants and then in the late afternoon all of the flowers fall to the ground, I guess that is where the purple RAIN came from because it just kind of rains down on the ground. it has rained alot here every day for a week or so and it is still growing very well and when there is no rain i only water a small amount and they are just as good.