The Q&A Archives: Facts About Mexican Petunia

Question: I bought a dwarf Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana), also known as Katie plant, while vacationing in Florida. Is this a perennial and if so will it survive in Indiana?

Answer: Your plant grows best and is perennial in warm winter climates, but it's hardy only to zone 8, so you will have to overwinter a plant indoors or replace it each year. The plant develops a tall stalk with dark green, lance-shaped leaves and dark stems. As weather becomes hot, bright pink, tubular flowers appear. Flowering is light related, and flowers will be less plentiful in overcast conditions. Mexican petunia is very showy when in full bloom. Dwarf versions can be used as groundcover, and varieties with white, pink, and lighter flowers abound.

The plant prefers good, fertile soil with moisture, but survives dry spells once established. After flowering, cut back stems about halfway for a new crop! It's relatively free of pests and disease. You can also grow it indoors as a houseplant in bright light.

If you want to propagate it from year to year, you can do so via cuttings, division, or seed. Stems are very easy to root in moist soil. Over time, the plant multiplies; an original stem becomes a colony, but is not invasive.

Hope this answers your question!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by plantmanager and is called "Captivating Caladiums"