Garden Critique: Mexican Petunias
The Mexican Petunia Plant
Mexican Petunias in the Garden
We have been growing the Mexican petunia or ruellia for many years in our garden. It is not an actual member of the petunia family; it is related to the black-eyed Susan vine. The Mexican petunia has performed incredibly well in the extreme heat and drought of Georgia. In cold climates, they are grown as annuals.
It is a favorite of honey bees and hummingbirds. The hummingbirds are attracted to the purple tubelike flowers and will visit each flower during the morning time to drink the nectar before it is dropped from the plant.
The plants have been used more in recent years as landscaping plants for professional buildings. It made its way to my garden via the local university’s garden. I saw it combined with stunning coneflowers and red hot pokers, and I had to have some. It grows to around three feet tall, on attractive green and burgandy stalks.
An Invasive Plant
The Mexican petunia is considered an invasive plant, so be warned. We have a whole yard full of the plant from just one five gallon bucket. You must keep it in check by pulling the plant up by the roots. If you do not want the plant to spread, you must remove all of it. Another way to keep them in your garden is to put them in containers and plant the containers directly into the ground. This means they are contained and will not spread; you will still have to thin them out annually.
The Mexican petunia is a stunning addition to any garden, but, keep in mind its invasive qualities. Do not place it next to a treasured flower; it will take over and choke out most any plant. Just use with caution and enjoy.
About the Author
Catherine Dean is a freelance writer, gardener, quilter, and blogger. Her professional background includes nonprofit program development, grant writing, and volunteer management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Georgia College & State University.
Her blog, Sowing A Simple Harvest, chronicles a modern couple trying to live a simplistic, sustainable life. To explore Catherine's professional credentials, visit her website. She can also be followed on Google+.