Ruellia brittoniana ‘Katie’ (Katie Dwarf Ruellia, Dwarf Purple Ruellia, Dwarf Mexican/False Petunia)
- Botanical Name: Ruellia brittoniana ‘Katie’, Ruellia tweediana ‘Katie’
- Common Name: Katie Dwarf Ruellia, Dwarf Purple Ruellia, Dwarf Blue Bell, Dwarf Mexican/False Petunia
- Family name: Acanthaceae
- Plant type: A low-growing herbaceous ornamental perennial, originating from Mexico.
- Light: Prefers full sun though can tolerate partial shade. Blooms prolifically if planted in areas that receives the most sunlight.
- Moisture: Medium to low water requirement. Can grow in both dry and wet conditions.
- Soil: Though tolerant of high heat and humidity, it grows best in standard moist soil. A versatile plant that thrives in any kind of soil, be it acidic, sandy or clay.
- Propagation: By dividing its rhizomes (root ball) or from herbaceous stem cuttings that root very easily in moist soil or seeds, though it’s better to let it self-sow which it does quite aggressively.
- Features: Katie Dwarf Ruellia is a dwarf herbaceous version of the Mexican native species. It grows vigorously into clumps that are about 8-12 ins. high and as widespread, differing from the native species which reaches 2-3 feet tall. Its linear, sword-shaped leaves measuring 4-5.5 ins. long and 0.5-0.7 ins. wide are deep-green in color with a metallic bluish tinge, almost hiding the stem that holds them. Clusters of brilliant purple or bluish purple trumpet-shaped, petunia-like flowers about 1.5-2 ins. wide are borne at stem tips. A prolific bloomer throughout the hottest seasons, it is absolutely stunning indeed!
- Care: Very low maintenance plant that does not need deadheading and is hardly bothered by serious insect or disease problems. Very occasionally bothered by snails, caterpillars, mealy bugs and white flies though, so an occasional check on the underside of leaves or bud clusters are advisable to prevent any spread if any. Ruellia brittoniana ‘Katie’ being a dwarf variety needs no pruning. If the colony of plants gets too big over time, just remove stray or excess plants by cutting straight into the root ball with a spade, dig and discard them. Preferably, grow them in hot and sunny areas to result in the most blooms.
- Usage: Being compact and low-growing, this Dwarf Purple Ruellia will be perfect as a front-of-the-border grouping in flower beds or groundcovers! Also, excellent for container gardening to brighten any garden spot or landscape with their colorful and plentiful blooms. Not excluding their great attraction to butterflies and bees!
- For sub-tropical & temperate regions: Check here!
Dwarf Purple Ruellia or Ruellia brittoniana ‘Katie’ was so named after Katie Ferguson, who first discovered this dwarf specie by chance growing in her nursery at Conroe, Texas. Thank goodness, these dwarf ruellias have travelled far and wide to the South-east-asian regions, including Malaysia! They are such enthusiastic bloomers, brightening every nook and corner in our garden. Though flowers last for a day only, the mounds of Dwarf Mexican Petunia are stunning as the procession of delicate blooms seem endless throughout the hot season, which in our tropical country will be constant year round! Even their metallic dark green foliage is so beautifully textured and impressive. They seed prolifically and self-sow so easily that we’re never without these beauties to cheer us daily. :D
Dwarf cultivars come in colors of white and pink, besides purple! The white version of ‘Katie’ is known as White Katie Ruellia with white flowers. And, the pink version of ‘Katie’ is known as Ruellia brittoniana ‘Bonita’ or ‘Colobe Pink’ with lovely soft pink flowers.
We also grow this pink cultivar which is less aggressive in self-seeding than the purple species. Here’s sharing some images of Katie’s Pink Ruellia from our garden. Enjoy! :)
Last edited: 2008-06-21