Mr. D's Plant of the Week Series: Mexican Bluebell

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If you are a lover of flowers as much as we are, and you must have different colors in the garden, you’ll enjoy the blue, violet, red or pink blossoms found on the Mexican Bluebell.

These fanciful flowers are showy and appear on this perennial three times a year; spring, summer, and fall. Besides its attractiveness, it seems as though different types of butterflies love the plant’s nectar.

The Ruellia brittoniana, (the Mexican Bluebell’s scientific name; pronounced: roo-EL-lee-uh brit-TOE-nee-uh), from the family of Acanthaceae, is not a native perennial to North America, but got introduced to Florida in the 1940’s.

The stout Mexican Bluebell is a vigorous grower, especially under harmful or unfavorable conditions. However, when planted as ground cover or mass planting, it will attract these pollinators bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, flies, and beetles.

How to care and manage the Mexican Bluebell

Besides growing upright or as a spreading herbaceous, and as mentioned above, the Mexican Bluebell will bloom three times a year. What you’ll discover about this perennial is you’ll have a Spring flowering session, then a Summer flowering session, and finally a Fall flowering session.

You should expect this perennial to grow no taller than three feet, but not less than two feet. You’ll also notice it will have light green leaves and the leaf blades will grow between 8- to 12-inches in length. Do expect the leaves to drop off when they mature. We call that deciduous, which literally means “falling off at maturity” or “tending to fall off.”

As for sunlight requirements; this plant grows well in the shade. Its tolerance level to drought is moderate. As for soil tolerance occasionally wet and acidic on sand, loam or clay, but it has no patience for soil salt. Also, the long-term health of the Mexican Bluebell is not affected by pests.

Mr. D’s Mexican Bluebell landscape design tip

The Mexican Bluebell is attractive when your landscape design includes massing the plants together. Another design layout is using perennial borders or as colorful ground covers. Should you choose to bury the plant in a pot or planter, the flexible stems will dangle over the edge of the container.

Do note when searching for more information online about the Mexican Bluebell, you will find there are conflicting botany studies which show the Ruellia brittoniana to be invasive while others state it is not. Back in 1999, this herbaceous was listed initially as non-invasive, but by 2001, two years later this species of herbaceous did end up on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Lists.

If you’re not sure, this perennial is the right choice for your garden, give us a call and speak to one of our landscaping specialists for alternative flower choices. Or stop by Dickerson’s nursery at 12 Hayfield Spur, over in Lloyd. We have a vast selection of perennials you can browse and take home.

If you found the Mexican Bluebell interesting, then check out our Common Boxwood material and let us know your thoughts!