Friends don’t Give Friends Mexican Petunias

I’ve wanted to post for the last three days, but life got in the way.  You know how that is…protest property taxes, grocery shop, mow, murder plants, etc…

So, first let me give you a small tour of what my garden looks like.  All photos were taken this morning.


This was the general view of my garden (coffee in hand) from the deck this morning.

Almost without fail, I check my baby plants every morning, usually in my night clothes.


Baby hyssop planted two days ago.  He/She should look like this when all grown up.


Baby butterfly weed, a very slow grower, but appears healthy.


Baby foxglove. Should look like this as an adult.


Baby ‘Red October’ bluestem grass.  Believe it or not, these are my favorite babies. I know–mothers aren’t supposed to have favorites.

And now let’s move away from the baby plant crib.


Second year red hollyhock in the veggie patch. These are biennial so unless it re-seeds, I’ll need to plant it again.  Notice all of the bare earth?  I weeded!


Colorful photo of my mulched path on the south side of the yard.

By now you’re probably wondering, what the heck do any of these photos have to do with Mexican petunias? Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to give you an update on my garden.

In the early 1990’s, “Mexican ruellia” (Ruellia brittoniana) also know as Mexican petunia was  considered a great plant for central Texas.  They were hardy, easy to grow, pretty, attracted wildlife, and self-seeded.  What more could one want in a plant?

My husband and I dutifully planted three.  I shudder when I think about this today.  Who needs a lawn when you have Mexican petunia?

When my then boss bought a new house and said she had a black thumb, I offered her several Mexican petunias.  I told her they were foolproof; that she could not kill them.  I was right.

Fast forward to the here and now, I would never in a million years plant tall Mexican petunias nor would I ever offer them to a friend, and yes, they grow in east Texas too.

If a Mexican petunia could get inside your house, it would grow in the dirt between your floor boards or in the dust on your furniture.  The word, invasive, doesn’t do this plant justice.

Some 15 years after I’d left my former job, I ran into my former boss in the supermarket and in the course of our conversation, I asked her about the Mexican petunias.  In answer, she rolled her eyes.  Oh, yes, she still had them.  (I knew this would be her answer because once you have them, you need dynamite and some serious prayer to get rid of them.)

How does this relate to my garden today? When I first moved in, a woman I know gave me several pass-along plants from her garden.  One was a Seven Sisters rose and the other a Four o’Clock, Mirabilis jalapa.

As a fairly seasoned gardener, I already knew about the bad habits of Four O’Clocks.  There are several sites on the web with the title, “How to Grow Four O’Clocks”.  There needs to be a counter site with the title, “How NOT to grow Four O’Clocks” because like ruellias, once you have them you won’t NOT have them.

I put the Four o’clock she gave to me in a large pot, and I diligently pull up the babies it makes each spring, but I had no previous experience with the Seven Sisters rose.

The Seven Sisters rose also reminds me of Mexican petunias. Invasive?  Oh My Goodness!  In less than six months, this baby rose had canes with roots 8 feet from its original planting site, plus in the two years I’ve grown it, it did NOT bloom.  Not once.

In my innocence, I’d never grown a Multiflora rose.  The woman who gifted it to me said this rose was a cutting from one her father grew on his farm “way-back-when”.

I wish I’d taken a photo of it before I killed it, but alas, I didn’t.  Two days ago, as much as I hated to do it, I cut the thorny creature to the ground, removed its invasive on-the-ground canes, and applied an herbicide to its stump, which is something I’ve only used once on poison ivy. I consider myself for the most part to be an organic gardener.

Had I left this rose, it might have choked me while I slept, kind of like this vine is choking my scarecrow.


Native Snailseed vine on my Lady of the Garden.

And that’s MY Story.

Have you ever grown an invasive plant and lived to regret it?  I’d love to know.

4 thoughts on “Friends don’t Give Friends Mexican Petunias

  1. Very helpful post. Your garden is looking lush. The worst, most invasive plant that we have is a Japanese Chocolate Vine. It grows very fast and spreads. It is even choking the green bamboo and that is also a plant to avoid as it will travel under concrete and come up somewhere else. Both plants are regarded as pests in Australia as they can cause problems in native forests. In the future we plan to get rid of both the Chocolate Vine and the Bamboo. This will probably require heavy duty poison and maybe professional help to dig these out. NEVER plant them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you mentioned the invasive Chocolate Vine because truthfully, it’s a vine I’ve considered planting. Now, I won’t. I know well about Running Bamboo. It scares me. I’ve seen it take over huge areas, and it’s difficult to get rid of. I hear that to keep it in its place, you need to install a physical barrier (metal? concrete?) deep into the earth to keep the roots from spreading. I’ve only read this though.–Don’t know from experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do grow some plants that are very aggressive. Probably the best/worst example is Celandine Poppy. I wouldn’t get rid of it, though. I just devote a fair amount of time to pulling out new Celandine Poppy plants. I’ve grown Mexican Petunia, but here it is an annual and doesn’t get the chance to be invasive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t mind pulling a few plants. It’s the plants that put down strong roots which break off when you try to pull them that drive me nuts.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s