Missouri's Wild Petunias

 Wild petunias are a hardy, lovely Missouri native flower found blooming close to the ground.

Wild petunias are a hardy, lovely Missouri native flower found blooming close to the ground.

Missouri's Wild Petunias
Not that Missouri's wild petunias grow close to the ground, that's where I seem to find them in bloom, after a mower has cut them down.
Missouri's wild petunia, scientifically known as Ruellia strepens, is a native perennial that returns each year from previous locations and from self-seeding. The flower was named for Jean de La Ruelle, a French herbalist 1474-1537. According to Edgar Denison, author of Missouri Wildflowers, strepens is Latin for "rustling," the sound of exploding seed capsules. 
 Wild petunia buds growing in a soil pile soon to be moved to flower beds.

Wild petunia buds growing in a soil pile soon to be moved to flower beds.

Missouri's wild  petunia blooms May through October, with each flower lasting only a day. It is followed by other blooms in quick succession.
Leaves are long and can be either smooth or fuzzy. Can you see them in the photo? The ones I have are fuzzy.
As the flowers fade, seeds form and eject themselves into the air, which explains the rustling.
There are few true blue garden flowers, either domesticated or wildflowers, so this lavender to lilac-blue color is a nice addition.
Wild Petunias Easy to Manage
Often lumped in with unwanted grasses and herbs misidentified as weeds, wild petunias add a pretty lavender through the summer season.
If you don't want them growing to their 3-feet height, pinch them back early spring and they will branch out and bloom at a lower height.
Wild Petunias Are Easy Care
Best of all, wild petunia is not fussy about where it grows; any soil is OK, full sun or part shade works; drought doesn't deter it, either. It is also safe from deer and rabbit munching.
The flowers benefit pollinators, including bumblebees.
Charlotte