Easy Desert Plant: Mexican Petunia

A dewey Mexican petunia bloom or Ruellia brittoniana in Florida
Diane Macdonald / Getty Images


The Mexican Petunia is sometimes referred to as Purple Showers. The Mexican Petunia is one of several desert plants that are recommended for people who want perennials (you need to plant them only once) that are hardy, low maintenance, relatively drought resistant, easy to find and care for, fairly inexpensive, and provide lovely color many times during the year.

The botanical name for Mexican Petunia is Ruellia brittoniana.

These are evergreen desert shrubs that flower periodically throughout the year. As long as you follow a basic desert garden to do list and keep to a conventional summer watering schedule, you should have no problem raising bushels of these violet blossoms.

Mexican petunia bushes take full sun and are somewhat drought-tolerant, but they need a water source, such as a drip system. They don't get very tall—just 3 or 4 feet high—and are evergreen, with a dark green leaf. The flowers are purple or dark blue. The Mexican petunia plant is a fast grower and is used successfully against block walls, or to surround and camouflage unpleasant looking electrical boxes and air conditioning units. Make sure you leave enough room on one side for repairs of the equipment if necessary. The Mexican petunia is a desert plant that can be grown in a container or shaped into a hedge. These bushes need occasional trimming to be kept neat.

Even if you live in an arid climate, you can still raise a fantastic garden bed full of terrific and vibrant plants. Try classic and easy desert garden options like bougainvilleaoleander lantanapurple sageornamental grass, ​fairy dusterred bird of paradiseorange jubilee, ​yellow bells, or bottlebrush.