Ruellia strepens

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: wild petunia 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Acanthaceae
Native Range: New Jersey to Texas and Georgia
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to September
Bloom Description: Lilac to lavender
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy


Easily grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates close to full shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ruellia strepens, commonly called wild petunia or smooth ruellia, is native to Missouri where it typically occurs in rich open woods, thickets and borders of streams and ponds throughout the State. It is a glabrous (without hairs) to sparingly hairy clump-forming perennial that grows 1-3’ tall. Features pale lilac to lavender petunia-like flowers (to 2” long) with five flaring lobes. Flowers bloom in the leaf axils from May to September. Opposite oval leaves to 6” long.

Genus name honors Jean de la Ruelle (1474-1537), French herbalist and physician to Francois I (1494-1547) who was king of France from 1515 until his death in 1547.

Specific epithet means creaking or rattling.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Woodland, shade or native plant gardens.