Ruellia humilis

Wild Petunia

$3.00 - $20.00

1/8 oz.
1/4 oz.
1/2 oz.
1 oz.

Bare Root Plants
Out of Stock

3 Pack
Out of Stock
Tray of 50
Out of Stock
Tray of 38
Out of Stock

Wild Petunia is native to much of the eastern US.  This lovely plant isn't actually a petunia (which are relatives of the tomato) but rather a member of the Acanthaceae family.  Either way, the resemblance is striking.  Standing about a foot in height, Wild Petunia is an excellent addition to a bed with other short plants. In ideal conditions, this plant can exceed one foot and spread quite vigorously. Blooming throughout the hottest, driest times of the summer, Wild Petunia is sure to please while other plants are withering away. It is quite a hardy species as well, handling most conditions you could throw at it, save for swampy soils and shade.  In fact, it's so hardy that it can be a bit aggressive, so keep an eye on where seedlings turn up.  It does great as a ground cover, with a sidewalk or something to contain it.  When mature, the seeds literally explode from the plant, traveling upwards of 10 feet! 

When in flower, Wild Pentunia attracts a wide variety of insect pollinators, but the lavender blooms are especially attractive to long tongued bees and butterflies.  It is also a host plant for the Common Buckeye butterfly.  Other common names for Ruellia humilis include Prairie Petunia, Fringeleaf Wild Petunia, and Hairy Ruellia.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots April/May October
Potted 3-Packs May/June September 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep pots
Potted Trays of 38* May/June N/A 2" wide x 5" deep plugs
Potted Trays of 50 May N/A 2" wide x 5" deep plugs
*This species is a choice in the Mix & Match - Create Your Own Tray!

Ruellia humilis - Wild Petunia

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

6 Questions asked on Ruellia humilis

Does this species transplant well?
Thanks for your question, Kaitlyn! Yes, we have found this species does transplant well. It will also readily re-seed.
In the details about this plant, the only symbol shown is that of a highly recommended landscape plant. There is no symbol for bees, though the descriptions says it attracts pollinators and is a host plant for the common buckeye. Is it deer resistant?
Ruellia humilis - Wild Petunia is not likely to be a favorite for deer browse but we haven't grown enough of this species in our seed production beds to feel confident adding the "deer resistant" symbol. Our "pollinator favorite" bee symbol is a relatively new feature on our website and we are still working on adding in more species. We will be adding this species to the list! Thanks for your questions.
Does ruellia humilis spread by rhizome?
Hi Michele, Nope, this plant has a fibrous root system and spreads by seed.
Is the germination rate low for this plant? I'm wondering if this is one where it is better to get a mother plant to seed an area, or if buying seed works better? Thanks
Hi Natalie, No, compared to many difficult-to-germinate species, this one germinates rather reliably.
I have a dry area next to a parking lot with western exposure, morning shade and also shade if cars are parked. Dogs sometimes urinate there. Would a combination of Buffalo grass and wild petunia survive dog urine?
Hi Mary. Even with the morning shade, does the site get 6+ hours of sunlight? If so, these species should do ok! As for surviving intermittent urine, we really have not done an extensive study, but as long as it is not the preferred and only site for piddling, these species should be able to tolerate dog urine.
Do rabbits eat this plant?
Hi Pauline. Rabbits will nibble on just about any young, establishing plant - including Wild Petunia. This native develops fuzz on its foliage as it matures, though, and such defense mechanisms usually deter browsing critters like rabbits.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
12 inches
Bloom Time
June, July, August
Bloom Color
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles
Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code