Generally weeds are very annoying and we keep uprooting them and throwing away but I am so glad that I did not discard a weed that entered my garden when I bought a plant in a nursery. Even as I was figuring out which plant it was and whether I should pluck and throw it away lest it might harm the other plant in the pot, it bloomed beautifully the next day as though pleading me not to abandon it and to show off that it was no less than the other plant… The plant is none other than Desert Petunia, native to Mexico.
Desert Petunia belongs to Acanthaceae (ruellia) family. The other common names of this plant are Mexican Petunia, Florida Bluebells and its botanical name is Ruellia Brittoniana.
Though it is a wild plant, it is grown in gardens for its pleasing flowers. Desert Petunia is an extremely sturdy and long lasting plant, which can grow in any type of potting material, soil or sand. My experience tells me that it is an absolutely no fuss plant requiring watering once a day if under direct sunlight else needs watering once in two days.
The flowers are beautiful purple bell flowers with white pollen peeping out. The flowers are 1 to 1½ inches long and 1 inch wide and the dark green slender leaves offers a contrast. The flowers bloom either in single or two or three together and dwindle by evening.
Cuttings can be planted in pots. The plant can become invasive and the stems when spread will form root clumps. Keep pruning the plant.
White flies attack the leaves, hence spray a suitable insecticide to control the flies. Even the flies do not do any harm to the plant….it still continues to thrive and bloom.