To the genus ruellia belong about ten species of evergreen herbaceous plants, usually small shrubs, originating in Central and South America. R. makoyana is a climber, easy to grow in pots. It has thin stems, green in colour, which carry long alternate leaves, oval, dark green in colour; the leaves of ruellia makoyana are velvety, opaque, and have light-coloured veins, very evident.
During the autumn and winter months, it produces numerous tubular flowers, with a corolla divided into five lobes, of a bright purple colour; usually, the ruellia makoyana do not develop very quickly when grown in pots, in any case it is advisable to shorten the longer branches in the spring, cimandoli even during the following months, to maintain a compact shrub and branched motion. The long growth of this climber makes it very suitable for cultivation in hanging baskets.
These plants don’t like cold weather, they can’t stand temperatures below 5-6°C, therefore they should be grown as apartment plants. In regions with very mild winters it is also possible to use them as garden plants, taking care to position them in a place sheltered from the cold and wind. They prefer bright places, avoiding direct sunlight, especially during the hottest days, as they could easily be damaged.
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To have the best development of this type of plant, it is advisable to water regularly, always waiting for the soil to dry up perfectly between one watering and the other; avoid excesses and stagnant water, and even prolonged periods of drought, which can cause the rolling of the leaves. However, it is advisable to check that the soil allows the correct drainage because these plants suffer particularly from the excess of water.
In the winter period, the amount of water must be significantly reduced.
Every 20-25 days provide fertiliser for flowering plants.
This plant is grown in a rich, loose, very well drained soil; it is possible to use some soil for green plants, mixed with a little pumice stone, to guarantee a good drainage.v It is also possible to use some sand, perfect for increasing the draining power of the substratum.
The plants of this genus are usually repotted every 2 or 3 years.
The multiplication of these plants takes place by seed, in spring, if desired, also directly at home. In spring, it is also possible to make cuttings, utilizing the tips of the stems. These are to be placed in containers with sand and peat, placed in a sheltered place with constant temperature. Once the first shoots appear and the new seedlings have taken hold, they can be transplanted.
Ruellia makoyana: Parasites and diseases
The ruellia particularly fear the attack of animal parasites, such as aphids, mites and aleurodids. To combat the problem of lice it is possible to use insecticide products that act at a systemic level and also for aleurodids it is good to use special pesticide products, or, if there is the presence of red spider webs, you can make water spray on the leaves to ward off the parasites.