HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR PETUNIAS
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PETUNIA X HYBRIDA
If you were to host a flower popularity contest, petunias would certainly win a prize. Loved for their colorful flower masses and easy-care nature, these plants are native to South America that has definitely found a home in North America.
Gardeners appreciate the multi-colored utility of the petunia: it is lovely as a show plant, in mass bed plantings, or particularly in containers, with flower-laden stems trailing up the sides of the pots.
With single or double trumpet-shaped blooms in pink, purple, red, yellow, or white, this flower is often used to add vitality to the garden from spring through fall.
A QUARTET OF TYPES
Part of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes Y tomatillos Petunias are divided into four categories.
The grandiflora types have large flowers, 3 to 5 inches wide, and can grow 10 to 12 inches tall.
Multiflora petunias have more abundant, smaller flowers, 1 to 2 inches. This type will grow to about 8 inches tall.
The compact types of milliflora produce generous amounts of small flowers 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Milliflowers are often used as border plants or mixed with other annuals in containers.
Ground cover petunias only grow to about six inches tall and spread quickly to cover a large area in one growing season. They are often covered in so many flowers that you can barely see the foliage.
RIDE THE WAVE OR CHOOSE A WINNER: WHERE TO BUY
If you are brave and want to try growing them from seed (more on that in a minute), the grandiflora 'Daddy' series is very popular and you can find granulated seeds at True Leaf Market .
This packet contains 1000 seeds producing 12-15 inch plants with 4 inch curly blooms in a variety of colors with an attractive streaky pattern. Available in blue (which looks more purple than true blue to us), orchid, pink and white "mint", multi-color "sugar", pink, red and a mix of various colors.
In 1995, Ball Seed Company introduced its “Wave” cultivar series, and these are among the most popular varieties available. Since then, the company has expanded its lineup to include Tidal Waves, Double Waves, Easy Waves, and Shock Waves.
You will get 100 seeds to spread plants that produce beautiful dark purple ruffled flowers.
This vigorous, award-winning plant has white flowers with bright pink streaks.
SEEDS OR START?
Like wax begonia Petunias can be difficult to grow from seed. The tiny seeds have a very long germination period and quite specific requirements.
Fortunately, it is generally very easy to find products in garden stores. You'll want to wait until the soil is at least 60 ° F and all danger of frost has passed before transplanting the seedlings outdoors.
Position these plants so that they obtain five or six hours of full sun . They are not particularly picky about the soil, as long as it drains well.
NEEM WATER, FOOD AND OIL
In general, deeply water petunias once a week. Plants may require more frequent watering in drought conditions, of course. And remember to water the spread and container varieties more often.
It is not necessary to remove petunias planted in the ground, but you will certainly want cutting discolored flowers from potted plants .
Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, once a month during the growing season. Double flowered cultivars may require additional feedings.
If your plants stop blooming or become long, prune the shoots to about half their length, feed them a liquid fertilizer, and water well.
At one ounce per gallon of water, this 16-ounce concentrate will produce 16 gallons of treatment.
Liquid Bt can also be used to control caterpillars. If you see them chewing leaves and leaving black dots of excrement scattered around, mix a solution of Bacillus thuringiensis and water in a spray bottle according to package directions, shake and spray on plants.
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