Ruellia Species, Brazilian Petunia, Elegant Ruellia, Wild Petunia

Ruellia elegans

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ruellia (roo-EL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: elegans (ELL-eh-ganz) (Info)
Synonym:Arrhostoxylum elegans
Synonym:Ruellia formosa
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Jackson, 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

St John, Virgin Islands

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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, app... read more