Baja Ruellia

Ruellia peninsularis

Also called Desert Ruellia, this southwest native thrives in full sun and easily handles the intense low desert summer heat. A great nectar plant for bees, butterflies and Hummingbirds, Baja Ruellia also acts as the larval host for the Malachite, White Peacock, Common Buckeye and Texas Crescent butterflies.

Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Status: Near-Native
Origin: Baja California and Sonora Mexico
Family: Acanthaceae
Size: 4′ tall and 6′ wide
Sun: Full to mild shade
Watering: Supplemental
Growth Rate:
Soil: Tolerant but good drainage preferred
Temperature: Cold hardy to 25 F
Pruning: Occasional heading back to increase canopy density after last frost in winter.
Disease and Pests:
Uses: Great nectar plant for bees, butterflies and Hummingbirds. Larval host plant for the Malachite, White Peacock, Common Buckeye and Texas Crescent butterflies.
Notes: Can become sparsely foliated in winter. Can suffer frost damage but quickly recovers when weather warms.

You will also often find two additional popular Ruellia’s used in the low desert. Ruellia brittoniana (Mexican Petunia) is a 2–4 foot tall upright spreading perennial. But, be warned! This plant should be planted in bordered beds to tame their rampant and invasive growth. They spread by seed and underground rhizomes. The Ruellia brittoniana ‘Katie’ is a dwarf horticultural selection that grows only 12–15″ high, works well as a groundcover and is very well behaved in the landscape. Both of these are commonly found in purple, but you may also find white or pink varieties.

Water Use It Wisely


Smart Plant Tags

Imagine a world where every garden, school yard, and public space becomes an immersive and educational experience.

A place where nature and knowledge intertwine to create stunning interpretive trails.

With a simple scan using your smartphone, you’ll unlock a whole new level of information and convenience.