A plant like ruelle (Ruellia) is also called Dipterakantus and it is directly related to the acanthus family. In the wild, it is most commonly found in tropical America, but it also grows in Asia and Africa.
There are over 200 plant species, most of which are herbaceous, but there are also dwarf shrubs and shrubs. Only a few species are grown indoors.
It is quite simple to grow such a flower, since it is undemanding to care for. Ruella is also a fast growing plant and can be easily propagated by cuttings.
Very spectacular velvety leaves have an elongated shape. The foliage of some species is colored green, others are dark green with light thin veins, and it can also be patterned. Drooping shoots are able to root at the point of contact with the soil.
The tubular flowers of this plant are colored lilac or pink-red. They are very similar to the flowers of some plants belonging to the Gesneriaceae family, but these flowers are not related. Flowers are located in the leaf axils of the upper part of the shoots. Blooming flowers do not last long on the plant. So, they bloom in the morning hours, and after lunch they already fall. The next day, new flowers appear. Flowering is quite long (from August to December) and is in direct proportion to the lighting (with good lighting, flowering is more abundant).
This flower is not often found in a flower shop. Most likely, this is because it grows rather quickly. And its flowers fall shortly after blooming. Therefore, ruella is unattractive for sale.
It is grown as a pot ampelous plant. It is also used as a ground cover plant for a winter garden.
Caring for ruella at home
Lighting and location selection
Recommended for placement in well-lit areas. If there is little light, then this will lead to a significant elongation of the stems, as well as to a lack of flowering. Due to drafts, the plant can shed the lower leaves.
Heat-loving plant. In the warm season, it prefers a temperature of 20-25 degrees, and in winter it grows best at 16-18 degrees. The soil should not be allowed to be cold. For this reason, the ruelia must not be placed on a cold windowsill.
It is best if the air humidity is high, but even at normal room temperature, the flower grows and develops quite well. In winter, in a heated room, as a rule, the humidity is very low and because of this, the leaves of the plant can dry out and curl.
How to water
Watering is moderate all year round. Make sure that the earthy ball does not completely dry out. If in winter the air temperature is lower than usual, then watering should be reduced.
The plant is fertilized in summer and autumn when the plant is in bloom. To do this, use mineral fertilizer and apply it to the soil 1 time in 2 weeks.
A suitable dredge consists of humus, leaf and sod land, as well as sand and peat. But in general, this plant grows quite well and develops in a purchased universal soil mixture.
Transplant is extremely rare. They only plant rooted cuttings in permanent pots. Since ruelia grows rather quickly, it is necessary to systematically cut cuttings from it and plant them for rooting in cups (several pieces in one). It blooms only in a cramped pot.
How to propagate
Propagated by cuttings. They take root, as a rule, in water at a temperature of 20-25 degrees. The planted stalk must be pinched so that the plant is more branched. For planting cuttings, use a low, but wide enough pot (plant several cuttings in 1 pot).
Diseases and pests
Practically not susceptible to disease. Whitefly or aphids can settle.
Ruellia devosiana, do you know such a houseplant?
Types of ruelia
This herb is perennial and has lodging stems. Its nodes take root easily when in contact with the soil. The dark green leaves are oblong. Their seamy side is colored reddish. The leaves have snow-white stripes running along the veins. Large flowers are colored deep pink. Flowering lasts quite a long time and usually begins at the end of the summer period.
It is also a herbaceous perennial plant. It has a highly branched stem. In height, it grows up to 35-40 centimeters. It has single flowers that can be painted white or lilac, and purple stripes flaunt in the middle of each lobe. Abundant flowering, observed in the autumn-winter period.
Puellia large-flowered (Ruellia macrantha)
It has an erect, high, branched stem. Its bell-shaped purple-pink flowers are quite large, so they reach 10 centimeters in length and 8 centimeters in width. They are located on the top of the stems. Flowering is observed in the autumn-winter period, provided there is sufficient lighting.
Ruellia Britton (Ruellia brittoniana)
An evergreen plant, in nature reaching a height and width of 90 cm.This species has strong semi-lignified vertical stems with lanceolate opposite dark green leaves 15 to 30 cm long and up to 2 cm wide.In the sun, the leaves acquire a bluish metallic hue, due to which the plant often called "ruella blue". The flowers of this species are tubular, expanded, purple-blue, up to 5 cm in diameter.
Ruellia, CARE, TRANSFER, IRRIGATION. Houseplants
Caring for ruella at home
This plant does not require anything beyond regular maintenance. It is not always easy for ruelia to maintain the correct air humidity, but otherwise this easily propagating plant is difficult to classify as capricious.
Watering and air humidity
Ruellias are watered only with soft, slightly lukewarm water, focusing on the drying out of the substrate and trying to create a stable light moisture. This culture does not like too abundant watering and quickly loses its decorative effect from drought. Immediately draining the water from the pallets after irrigation and drying only 1-2 cm of soil between waterings, you can achieve ideal moisture. For the winter, watering is reduced, but only following the rate of soil drying.
Maintaining a constant medium-high air humidity is the most difficult point in caring for a ruelia. Despite their velvety texture, ruelles cannot stand dry air and immediately react to it by rolling the leaves. And although they regain their shape, it is not worth repeating mistakes in grooming.
Since ruelia will be content with average indicators, simple measures are enough - put the plant on a pallet with damp materials, place the simplest humidifier bowls next to it, or carry out frequent spraying with fine nozzles, preventing a drop of water from accumulating on the leaves.
Top dressing and fertilizer composition
Ruellia is one of the plants that is best fed all year round. From September to February, the plant is fed with halved portions of fertilizers, applying them once every 1.5 months. And from March to August, feeding should not be too intense: it is enough to use half-reduced doses of fertilizers 1 time in 2-3 weeks.
Ruelles hate dry air. © Stan Shebs
Trimming and shaping ruelia
To maintain the compactness of the bushes, you can follow the example of the flower centers and treat the ruella with growth inhibitors. But it is much better to form a plant correctly. The main purpose of pruning is to stimulate tillering and prevent shoots from pulling out. It is enough to pinch the tops or cut off the tip of the branches. Usually, pruning is done in the spring at the beginning of summer.
Transplant, containers and substrate
Ruella is grown in compact, classic containers, corresponding to their status as a living bouquet. Rapid growth rates allow the plant to master the capacity in 1-2 seasons, and adult bushes are transplanted or replaced quite often. The best time to transplant is early spring.
Breathable, light soil is suitable for Ruellia - any versatile substrate with loosening additives (for example, coarse sand or perlite).
Ruella is not afraid of transplantation. This plant is suitable for hydroponics and greenhouse compositions. It can be used as a ground cover and for flowering cascades in addition to other moisture-loving plants.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
The unusual leaves of ruella are very attractive to whiteflies. At the slightest suspicion of the appearance of this pest in the collection of ruelia, it is necessary to isolate first of all. It is better to fight insects right away by spraying the plant with insecticides. In the shade and without normal lighting in winter, ruelia deforms, with improper watering, it loses leaves and withers.
It is better to propagate ruella vegetatively. © Fleurette Jardin