I love my Mexican petunias (Ruellia tweediana). Each morning their cheery lavender flowers brighten the view from my kitchen window. Although I’ve read many warnings about the danger of them spreading, I have 2 groups in planters where they won’t spread beyond the planter. I also have another bunch in the ground in an area that is so sandy and so full of tree roots that they haven’t spread via roots. These are seedless varieties so won’t spread by seed. (For more about invasive plants in Florida, read Ask Wendy.)
The bunch growing in the planter just off the patio has developed white spots on the leaves. At first I thought it was a fungus because each spot looks like a fluff of shiny cotton threads. After doing some research, I’ve realized it is mites. (read Naples News and Doug’s bugs-n-Shrubs) Bees visit the flowers so I don’t want to use anything harmful to the bees, and Doug’s bugs-n-shrubs blog says there is no need to treat the problem. It is spreading very quickly from plant to plant though, so tomorrow after the flowers have dropped, I’ll try an insecticidal soap on the leaves. It won’t harm the bees and may help to get rid of the mites.