Barleria repens (Coral Creeper)

  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0108
  • Botanical Name: Barleria repens
  • Common Name: Coral Creeper, Red Barleria, Small Bush Violet, Pink-Ruellia
  • Cultivar: N/A
  • Family: Acanthaceae  
  • Barleria repens 
    Photo by Matthew Gaston 

  • Native To: South Africa

Landscaping Information

    • Plant Type: Vine, Groundcover
    • Texture: Medium, Dense
    • Form: Mat to Mound
    • Height (on average, in landscape use):  <1'
    • Height to Spread Ratio: A sprawling groundcover. Grows much more horizontally than vertically.
    • Growth Rate: Fast
    • Landscape Values:  Color, Edging, Filler, Groundcover, Mass, Quick Effect, Lanai, Erosion Control
    • Outstanding Quality: Flower Color
    Barleria repens 
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Botanical Descriptions

    • Flowers: 1.5"-2" long, 5 petals, 2 stamens ; bell-tubular shaped; red-orange to coral to salmon colored. Not fragrant.
    Barleria repens flower
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Fruits: Oblong capsule containing copious seeds.
    • Foliage Color: Young/immature: light green Mature: Bright medium green to dark green. Ovary bracts are bronze.
    • Foliage Tip: Rounded
    • Foliage Base: Obtuse
    • Petiole: Yes
    • Stipules: Absent
    • Margins: Smooth
    • Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
    • Leaf Shape: elliptic to ovate
    • Leaf Type: Simple
    • Leaf Texture: firm, rigid, smooth adaxial surface with prominent venation on abaxial surface
    • Leaf Special Notes: A handsome leaf with features not often seen in tropical groundcovers.
    Barleria repens adaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Barleria repens abaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston


    Barleria repens with bronze colored ovary bracts
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Bark and Trunk: Becomes somewhat woody and rigid with age.

    Horticultural Information

      • Light Preference: Semi-Sun to Near Full Sun
      • Light Tolerances:  Partial Shade
      • Soil Preferences: Not Particular, Loam,  Organic, Dry (Mesic).
      • Tolerances: Compacted Soil, Salt Air.
      • Water Requirements: Low water needs
      • Notes on Maintenance: For best flowering prune back heavily after flowering. A suitable container plant. This might be an appropriate option as its vigorous sprawling habit which can engulf an area. 
      • Propagation: Seeds, Cutting (Produces seeds abundantly, making it kind of weedy at times)
      • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone: 10a
      • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): 16,  High Risk
      Nota Bene: The name common name coral creeper references the coral colored flowers and the creeping habit, which is also noted in the epithet repens (meaning creeper). The common name Pink Ruellia references the fact it looks like a lighter colored Ruellia as both have 5 petaled bell-tubular shaped flowers. Clearly this is not a proper Ruellia.

      Most Popular Plants

      Bucida buceras 'Variegated' (Dwarf Variegated Geometry Tree)

      Graptophyllum pictum (Caricature Plant)

      Pseuderanthemum carruthersii var. carruthersii (Variegated False Eranthemum)

      Breynia disticha (Snow Bush)

      Ficus microcarpa var. crassifolia (Wax Fig)

      Ficus triangularis (Triangle Fig)