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Publication #FPS60

Baleria cristata Phillipine Violet1

Edward F. Gilman, Linda Landrum2

Introduction

The Philippine Violet is an herbaceous perennial that attains a height of 36 to 48 inches (Fig. 1). Leaf tissue is puckered around the veins which appear recessed. The plant remains dense in the full sun creating a nice barrier planting. The dark green foliage is medium in texture and becomes hard and “prickly” after freezing weather. White or lavender flowers appear on this plant in the late summer and early fall.

General Information

Figure 1. 

Phillipine Violet.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]
Scientific name: Barleria cristata
Pronunciation: bar-LEER-ee-uh kriss-STAY-tuh
Common name(s): Phillipine Violet, Bluebell Barleria,
Barleria
Family: Acanthaceae
Plant type: perennial; herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 9 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: superior hedge; foundation; border
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant
Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 4 to 6 feet
Spread: 3 to 4 feet
Plant habit: upright
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: fast
Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: bowed; pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: pink; white
Flower characteristic: summer flowering; fall flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: no fruit
Fruit length: no fruit
Fruit cover: no fruit
Fruit color: not applicable
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not particularly showy; typically multitrunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay;
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: may self-seed each year
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

The Philippine Violet is a good background or specimen plant but also looks nice when massed. It can be used for a hedge or border planting to create a wall effect in a garden or landscape. It will stay small enough for use along a house foundation provided they are not placed in front of a low window. Plants in the northern part of its range will be killed to the ground in freezing temperatures. Cut them back to clean the plant of dead foliage and stems. New growth emerges in the spring from the base of the stems.

Place Barleria cristata in an area of the landscape that receives full sun or partial shade. This plant prefers welldrained soils and is drought tolerant. Prune the Philippine Violet to the ground each spring to maintain a bushy plant. Wear gloves when cleaning up this plant in the spring; the leaves become coarse after freezing and could irritate exposed skin.

Barleria cristata is “weedy” and will readily reseed itself and can invade adjacent land. Seeds and cuttings may be used for its propagation.

Pests and Diseases

None of major concern.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS60, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date October 1999. Revised May 2007. Reviewed June 2011. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Linda Landrum, extension agent, Volusia County, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.