Shrubs, subshrubs, and evergreen perennials in about 150 species from tropical America, Africa, and Asia belong to the genus Ruellia. The funnel-shaped flowers are the primary draw for many of the species and are sometimes called Mexican petunias. Leaves are often attractively marked as well. They are best used in informal areas of the garden, or in a warm greenhouse. Ruellia love high heat. They may become invasive in warm areas.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsFunnel-shaped flowers and often attractive foliage.
CareGrow in full sun or part shade in most any fertile, organically rich, moist soil. In the greenhouse, grow in bright filtered light in a very humid location. Water only moderately in winter.
PropagationCan be propagated from softwood cuttings in spring or early summer, or from seed sown at 66° to 75°F in spring.
ProblemsBacterial and fungal leaf spots, rust, root rot.