Flowers of Monkey Plant - Acanthaceae Ruellia R. Makoyana.

What You Need to Know About the Monkey Plant – Acanthaceae Ruellia R. Makoyana

This genus covers a range of ever­green perennials and soft-stemmed or woody shrubs, from tropical America, Africa, and Asia. R. makoyana is a spreading plant from Brazil, also known as monkey plant or trailing velvet plant. Its weak stems can be allowed to trail gracefully from a hanging basket or tied to a support and pinched regularly to encourage bushiness.

The pointed-oval leaves are velvety, olive-green, tinted violet above, purple beneath, and veined in silvery gray. Masses of single, trum­pet-shaped, rose-carmine flowers, up to 2 in. (5 cm) across, are borne in winter and early spring. R. devosiana is a hairy shrub with soft, purplish stems and funnel-shaped pale laven­der flowers from spring to summer.

Size: Stems to 2 ft. (60 cm) long.

Light: Indirect sunlight.

Temperature: Warm; minimum 55°F (12°C).

Moisture: Keep moist all year, apart from the six week rest period immediately after flowering, when only enough water should be applied to prevent the soil drying out.

Feeding: Use standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks, apart from during the rest period.

Propagation: Take 5—4 in. (7—10 cm) tip cuttings m summer.

Special needs: High humidity is essential, so place the pot on a tray of moist pebbles.