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I live in Houston, TX and this is growing in our garden (planted by previous owner). My fiancee says it's a weed but I'm thinking otherwise.

Can anyone settle our debate?

Identify Me! FlowerZoom BaseZoom enter image description here

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1  
A kind of morning glory? Could you provide a picture with a zoom on the flower (also from the side). –  Patrick B. Jun 17 '12 at 21:17
    
@PatrickB. - Additional images added. –  Austin Salonen Jun 17 '12 at 22:22
    
Sorry I'm too novice to really find out what exactly it is. Blindweed turned up in another search I made, just to learn that blindweed and morning glory are relatives. But I'll put an answer anyway even if you should not accept it. –  Patrick B. Jun 18 '12 at 18:57
    
A weed is any plant growing in the wrong place - strawberries are weeds in the lawn, and grass is a weed in a the strawberry patch. If you like it, why not let it stay? –  Kate Gregory Mar 15 '13 at 13:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's Mexican petunia (Ruellia simplex aka R. brittonia aka R. tweediana aka...etc)

Texas A&M's horticulture people have named this species a "Texas SuperstarTM" ("superior landscape plants for Texas and their subsequent introduction in the marketplace!!!"), which, of course, means that it is indeed a fairly major problem in Texas natural areas (and broadly across much of the Gulf South). The Bayou Preservation Society in Houston has it on their list of The Invasive Exotic "Dirty Dozens" (pdf). More info here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep415

Here it is in full bloom (original image here). It's a very attractive ornamental plant, but personally, I'd highly recommend removing it (and giving your fiancee a footrub, or whatever you do when you lose a bet :) )

enter image description here

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Thanks! Do you recommend removing because it will take over or is it typically done with this plant in Texas? –  Austin Salonen Jun 28 '12 at 1:53
    
I've never actually seen it growing in a garden, but it has the reputation for spreading rather aggressively. Mostly, though, I think it's best to not grow non-native species that are known to spread easily and grow rampantly outside of cultivation. –  Steve K Jun 28 '12 at 1:57

As written in my comment I don't know what it is exactly. (morning glory/blindweed). But I can help to settle the debate with your fiancee: whether a plant is weed or not is a-point-of-view debate. Like taste.

Every wild flower (even tiniest and shyest ones) can be nice to be looked at in the right spot. If you have for example no real lawn (like I have) but just a sort of "grass-kept-short" you could be surprised how many different small flowers are hiding in there if you decide not to mow it every week. Well, at least I was.

In short, why removing the plant if it seems right where it is (and as in your case it even has flowers).

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Dwarf Ruellia is a common cultivated border landscape plant and thus not a weed unless you don't like it. A weed is any plant that will increase despite the increase in humans.

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