About ten species of evergreen herbaceous plants belong to the genus ruellia, usually small shrubs, originating from central-southern America. R. makoyana is a climber, easy to grow in pots. It has thin stems, of green color, which bear long alternate, oval, dark green leaves; the leaves of Ruellia makoyana are velvety, opaque, and have clear, very evident veins. During the autumn and winter months it produces numerous tubular flowers, with corolla divided into five lobes, of a bright purple color; generally the Ruellia makoyana do not develop very quickly if grown in pots, in any case it is advisable to shorten the longest branches in spring, cutting them even during the following months, to maintain a compact shrub and branched motion. The elongated growth of this creeper makes it very suitable for hanging basketry.
These plants don't like cold, they don't tolerate temperatures below 5-6 ° C, so they are grown as apartment plants. In regions with very mild winters it is also possible to use them as garden plants, taking care to place them in a place sheltered from the cold and wind. They prefer bright places, avoiding the direct rays of the sun especially during the hottest days, as they could easily be damaged.
To have the best development of this type of plant, it is advisable to water it regularly, always waiting for the soil to dry perfectly between one watering and another; avoid excesses and stagnant water, and even prolonged periods of drought, which can cause rolling of the leaves. It is however good to check that the soil allows for proper drainage because these plants suffer particularly from excess water.
In winter the amount of water must be reduced considerably.
Every 20-25 days, provide fertilizer for flowering plants.
This plant is grown in rich, loose, very well drained soil; You can use soil for green plants, mixed with a little pumice stone, to ensure good drainage. It is also possible to use sand, perfect for increasing the draining power of the substrate.
Plants of this genus generally repot every 2 or 3 years.
The multiplication of these plants occurs by seed, in spring, also wanting to stay directly. In spring it is also possible to practice cuttings, using the tips of the stems. These should be placed in containers with sand and peat, placed in a sheltered place with a constant temperature. Once the first sprouts appear and the new plants have gained strength, they can be transplanted.
Ruellia makoyana: Pests and diseases
The ruellia particularly fear the attack of animal parasites, such as aphids, mites and aleurodids. To counter the problem of lice it is possible to resort to insecticidal products that act systemically and also for the aleurodides it is good to resort to special anti-parasitic products, or, if there is the presence of red spider mites, it is possible to practice water sprays on the leaves to ward off parasites.