Plant Description

Ruellia elegans

Ruellia elegans

A Mexican member of the family Acanthaceae, this is a sprawling perennial (ht to 1 m) with brilliant red funnel-shaped flowers in spring, summer and autumn. It tends to take root wherever it touches the ground. It enjoys a sunny position, with protection from very hot sun in summer. Cut back by half at the end of winter.

I have seen it in a friend's garden (pictured) looking fantastic with red Dahlia and yellow Lycoris underneath a golden Brugmansia. I have planted mine to spill over the edge of a retaining wall, nearby some lime-coloured foliage, against which the flowers really zing. I also like to grow such red flowers near to dark purplish-bronze leaves - a vibrant combination.

When visiting a friend in Brisbane several years ago, I obtained a cutting of a hot pink version of this plant, which was labelled 'Firebird' - pictured below left. It grows just as well as the species in my garden. I have never seen it anywhere else.

Of Interest

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Ruellia elegans
Flowers from October to May.
Plant Family: Acanthaceae