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Ruellia humilis (wild petunia)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Ruellia humilis

wild petunia

A drought-tolerant prairie native with delightful lavender-blue petunia-like flowers that bloom from summer to fall. Compact (great in pots!) and very easy to grow. Seeds in well. Great choice for a height-restricted meadow. Found in dry open woods and prairies Pennsylvania to Indiana, south to Alabama.

Ruellia humilis LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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2-3 Feet


12 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

wild petunia Interesting Notes

Copious purple blooms adorn this dependable trailing perennial from summer to fall and provide an easy to grow filler for the perennial border or meadow. Reaching up to 1-2’ tall and preferring sun to filtered shade, Ruellia humilis grows best in dry, well drained, and rocky soil; even so, it also thrives in moist, nutrient enriched soil. Fringe leaf wild petunia stands out when planted in masses, at the front of a border or naturalized in a meadow, informally weaving its leggy branches among other plants. Plant this charming plant with Schizachyrium scopariumEutrochium fistulosumCoreopsis tripterisPenstemon digitalisEragrostis spectabilis, or Echinacea pallida to accent and provide a skirt to other taller perennials. - Mt. Cuba Center

Wild Petunia is native to much of the eastern US. This lovely plant isn't actually a petunia (which are relatives of the tomato) but rather a member of the Acanthaceae family. Either way, the resemblance is striking. Standing about a foot in height, Wild Petunia is an excellent addition to a bed with other short plants. Blooming throughout the hottest, driest times of the summer, Wild Petunia is sure to please while other plants are withering away. It is quite a hardy species as well, handling just about most conditions you could throw at it, save for swampy soils and shade. It is so hardy in fact that it can be a bit aggressive so, keep and eye on where seedlings turn up. When mature, the seeds literally explode from the plant, traveling upwards of 10 feet! When in flower, Wild Petunia attracts a wide variety of insect pollinators but the lavendar blooms are especially attractive to long tongued bees and butterflies. It is also a host plant for the larvae of the buckeye butterfly. - Prairie Moon Nursery

Ruellia humilis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow in well-drained soils with dry to average moisture levels in full sun to part shade.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated