Petunias

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Botanical name: Petunia

Plant type: Flower

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Flower color: Red, Pink, Yellow, Purple, White

Bloom time: Spring, Summer, Fall

Petunias are one of the most popular type of annual. They are divided into two different groups: Grandiflora petunias have very large flowers and are best grown in containers or hanging baskets (because they are more susceptible to rain damage), and Multiflora petunias have smaller, but more abundant flowers and are ideal for summer bedding or in a mixed border (because they are more tolerant to wet weather).

Planting

  • You can grow petunias from seeds, but it is easier to grow them from transplants. If you are going to grow from seeds, start them indoors 10 to 12 weeks before you want to set them outside. Petunia seeds are very small and needs lots of light in order to germinate. Remember to water them. When the plants have three leaves, you can plant them outside.
  • It's best to buy transplants and plant them in light, well-drained soil in full sun after the last spring frost. Petunias can grow in partial shade, but they will have fewer flowers. It's better if the plants have shelter from the wind.
  • Space the plants about 1 foot apart.
  • If you're planting petunias in containers, use a soil-less mix.

Care

  • Petunias are tolerant of heat so you don't have to water them regularly. A thorough watering once a week should be sufficient (unless there are prolonged periods of drought in your area). The spreading types and those in containers require more frequent watering though.
  • Fertilize your plants monthly to ensure good growth. Double-flowered cultivars like a biweekly dose of fertilizer.
  • Remove faded/dead flowers to prolong blooming.

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Leaf miners
  • Gray mold
  • Bacterial soft rot
  • Leaf spots
  • Viruses

Recommended Varieties

  • Carpet Series, which is ideal for a ground cover and offers a wide variety of colors
  • Sugar Daddy (Petunia Daddy Series), which sports purple flowers with dark veins.
  • Rose Star (Petunia Ultra Series), whose flowers look striped because of its rose-pink flowers with a white cen

E-Cards

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Comments

I'm going to be re-planting

By Bengy on April 2

I'm going to be re-planting the bed with new petunias, but wanted to check whether the dead-looking sticks (all that remains above ground from last summer), will come back to life and flower again this year... I know they are meant to be annuals so is this what they normally look like after their one season. Can I safely remove them and plant anew?

The petunias have died. Pull

By Almanac Staff on April 2

The petunias have died. Pull them out and prepare your beds. Amend the soil by digging in compost a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost. Plant them outdoors once the weather and soil have warmed up, about the time you plant impatiens or peppers.

I am teaching high school

By Ms. Powers

I am teaching high school botany and for a class project, we are using varying environments to grow petunias to see the effect. In order to preserve the experiment, I need a controlled environment. I have everything the same, UV light, temperature, etc, but I cannot find an exact measurement for water. All the sites say to touch the soil to see if its dry. I need something a little more exact to preserve our controlled environment. Do you have a suggested amount or frequency we can use?

one simple solution can be 1.

By Rajesh Khanna

one simple solution can be
1. weigh a few spoonfuls of the soil as it is, let it be w1
2. heat the soil, an oven can do the job, to lose the moisture.
3. weigh the soil again, let it be w2

difference in the two weights, w1-w2, will be the weight of water per w2 weight of soil,

it is difficult to lose all the water from the soil and some may still remain attached to the soil even after
lots of heating. But it is likely to be very little for most of the soils which are fit for cultivation and one can ignore that.

one can go for very refined measurements also,

with best regards

Rajesh

I live in Southern Australia

By Helen Alen

I live in Southern Australia in a temperate climate. I planted petunia seedlings in late summer (that's mid February here). Do you think they will keep flowering into mid fall (April) when I want a nice display?

I have just bought new pink

By Ritika

I have just bought new pink petunia with white lines on it, after few blooms the color of flowers have changed to purple and white. My purple petunia do not touch pink ones.
I live in India, with max temp currently 27 C and min around 11 C

Fresh leaves of some of my

By Rajesh Khanna

Fresh leaves of some of my potted petunias are turning out to be yellowish and the plant does not grow after that. Even the flowers in these yellowish parts are very small and look sickly. The plant just stays the same, no growth, nothing, after this yellowness happens.
The drainage is good, they get about 6-8 hours of sunlight, other nearby petunias, potted and cared for in the same way are doing well. Somebody has suggested putting some vinegar to make the soil acidic. Please help,
I have noticed this problem in the last few years only in Delhi, India. Now i see the same in other people's
petunias also.

Petunias are heavy feeders

By Almanac Staff

Petunias are heavy feeders and grow best with a soil pH between 5.5 and 5.8. With a higher soil pH, petunias begin to suffer from iron deficiency. Try fertilizing with a fertilizer rich in iron.

thanks, will try rajesh

By Rajesh Khanna

thanks, will try

rajesh

Our petunia looks like it's

By Anonymous

Our petunia looks like it's wilting and it does look a bit fresher after it's watered, but doesn't improve much. I'm not sure what's going wrong.

Is you petunia outdoors? The

By Almanac Staff

Is you petunia outdoors? The plant doesn't get as much sunlight in the winter months so if possible move it to a spot where it gets maximum sun. Give the petunia some fertilizer and remove all spent blossoms.

I live in Zimbabwe and want

By Ian Robertson

I live in Zimbabwe and want to take cuttings off my hybrid petunias. Can you tell me what photoperiod can help? Our natural day-length is 10-14 hours and we get very hot and sunny most of the year, aye, Ian

Can I plant petunias in the

By Erna Duvenage

Can I plant petunias in the same soil as year before and do petunias have an influence on other plants in the same pot or floor bed?

It's fine to plant petunias

By Almanac Staff

It's fine to plant petunias in the same soil next year. Just add some well-rotted manure or compost before planting.
Petunias are great in the vegetable garden. They repel aphids, asparagus beetles, leafhoppers and tomato worms. Some plants that thrive with petunias as companions are basil, beans, tomatoes, corn and peppers. Roses and petunias also grow well together.

 

Can I transplant my petunias

By Karen Hury

Can I transplant my petunias from my outside containers into new ones in the house for the winter. I live in Ohio my petunias are thriving and I don't want them to die. So I thought if I repotted them in a good mixture of soil and fertilizer keep them warm and loved that I may keep them growing all year. Do you think that's possible?

Hi Karen, Petunias can

By Almanac Staff

Hi Karen,
Petunias can overwinter indoors but you need to give them lots of light (a south-facing sunny window may work) and add some humidity to the indoor air. Put gravel in a plastic tray and add water. Then place your pots on the gravel. The petunias may still get leggy and stop blooming. You can also take some cuttings from the mother plant and start these indoors. Good luck!

do these flowers come back

By ray bowman

do these flowers come back everyyear?

I have a number of petunia

By art como

I have a number of petunia plants in their 2nd year and they appear to be healthy and have a number of blooms coming. I live in the LA area and we have had a very mild winter!

Most people grow petunias as

By Almanac Staff

Most people grow petunias as annuals so they grow just once a season.
In terms of "true" annuals versus tender perennials: True annuals germinate, flower, set seeds and die during one season regardless of which zone they are in (e.g, marigolds are true annuals). Many bedding plants that are sold as annuals are actually tender perennials and will grow as perennials in warmer climates.
Petunias are sometimes also called "hardy annuals".

Actually, petunias are

By Scott sm on March 21

Actually, petunias are classified as tender perennials grown as annuals. In a mild climate, they will over-winter.

Every fall my petunias get

By Angie/Seattle

Every fall my petunias get small black specks on them similar to poppy seeds. I always assumed that this was eggs of an aphid like bug, but spraying the plants only results in killing them. Is it possible that this is actually the plant trying to reseed itself? I can't find this mentioned in any of my gardening books. Thanks.

i have "poppy seed like"

By Patti Doucette

i have "poppy seed like" specs on my petunias too.. i read that it is called "peroxyacetyl nitrate" (PAN), caused by air pollution. what i read said there is nothing that can be done. i'm not happy with that diagnosis, so i'm still looking

Black specs might be

By Almanac Staff

Black specs might be "frass"...caterpillar poop. You  may have a worm eating your plants. Blast the leaves with insecticide spray.

I have two very large

By EJ

I have two very large containers of petuinas. They have stopped blooming but otherwise look very health. Could they be getting too much water. They are watered by a sprinkler system twice daily.

If your petunias have stopped

By Almanac Staff

If your petunias have stopped blooming (or slowed down), you can try to revive them by clipping the stems back by two-thirds and fertilizing. You could clip all at once, or clip a third every week or so. Your plant may start flowering in a few weeks.
In general, you could clip some of the stems every week to keep your plant healthy and full; also keep fertilizing if the plants are in containers.

Is it really best if I will

By greenPurple

Is it really best if I will plant the petunia seeds in a soil less media like carbonized rice hull and vermicast?

If you're planting seeds

By Almanac Staff

If you're planting seeds (versus transplants), clean, damp potting soil is fine.

What is eating my petunias at

By apriljason11

What is eating my petunias at night..entire bloom but only the red ones, they dont touch the purple ones?/

yes how can u see when its

By toni w

yes how can u see when its going to seed

The flower of the petunia

By Almanac Staff

The flower of the petunia needs to naturally die, and fall to the ground. Then the plant's calyx, the bulging part of the stem below the flower's base, will begin to swell and turn brown. After a period of a couple of days or so, the calyx will split open and the seeds will fall out.

The petunias in my flower box

By marion driscoll

The petunias in my flower box develop white spots on the flowers the second day of blooming. What causes this, and what can i do to control the condition? Those in hanging baskets do not suffer the same fate.

Did you fertilize your flower

By Almanac Staff

Did you fertilize your flower box? This sounds as if they have fertilizer burn. Make sure you keep fertilizer off the plants and that you water it in well or it's watered down.

My flower look heathy but the

By Tracey Jason

My flower look heathy but the stems are all dried out and looking horrible so the plants looks like there dead what should I do the get all day sun and I water regularly ??

Try cutting them back a bit.

By Almanac Staff

Try cutting them back a bit. Also, a thorough watering once a week should be sufficient (unless there are prolonged periods of drought in your area).

I'm having the same problem!

By ParkersMiMi

I'm having the same problem! They were full and beautiful, but now have dried leaves and very sparse. I've watered, cut back on watering and I've also fertilized. I'm at a loss! (I live in Oklahoma - hot, windy, humid)

Any updates? My petunia beds

By Mnesc

Any updates? My petunia beds are doing the same thing and it's only getting worse. Help!

There are many differing

By Cindy G.

There are many differing opinions on whether or not you need to "deadhead" the newer varieties of petunias. What is the real scoop - deadheading is still vital or no longer needed?

For petunias, we would allow

By Almanac Staff

For petunias, we would allow the plant to bloom and re-bloom naturally, then prune backlong branches as the season progresses for renewed flowering.

We are having massive amounts

By karin pope

We are having massive amounts of rain in western Wisconsin this summer (it's June)It has rained nearly every day for the last month. Not much heat for the petunias. They are already going to seed! I have been growing petunias since I was a child and this is truly the first time I've ever had trouble with them. I normally would be getting another 3 months worth of blooms from these guys. Should I cut them way back? We deadhead like crazy-is that the problem? No signs of rot or bugs so we ruled that out! Yikes! I won't get my yearly petunia fix if they stop blooming and seed out!

You should allow the plant to

By Almanac Staff

You should allow the plant to bloom and re-bloom naturally, then prune back long branches as the season progresses for renewed flowering.

I live in southern

By carolyn jacques

I live in southern california. I have planted petunias in pots. But they are not blooming. The plants themselves look healthy but they don't seem to be blooming. I read where you suggested they be given a natural fertilizer biweekly. I've been giving them a 5-5-5 organic allpurpose fertilizer. Should I up the number? Also it gets up to 95-105 degrees so I water every day. Should I not be watering that much? They are in full sun for up to 5 hours. Do they have a blooming cycle?

Cut back on the fertilizer

By Almanac Staff

Cut back on the fertilizer (only fertilize once a month during the hot months) and let the soil dry before you water again. Water deeply but less often.

I have petunias in hanging

By Julie Schill

I have petunias in hanging baskets which are doing well, and others in long planters. The leaves on the ones that are in planters are not as big and green as the ones in the hanging pots. They are all the wave variety. What is wrong?

My little sister is growing a

By Shiro

My little sister is growing a petunia from (a) seed(s) which she got in a little ceramic egg-thing. Unfortunately, the egg was cracked and we didn't have a proper pot to put it in, so her petunia is growing in a teacup. Any advice for drainage? So far, we've just tilted the cup upside-down to let excess water drip out while leaving the soil moist. It seems to be working, as the cup has three sprouts, but what about when they get bigger?

Plant the petunias in a pot

By Almanac Staff

Plant the petunias in a pot with drainage holes. Pick a pot that is a little taller and wider than the teacup. Add some soil to the bottom of the new pot and carefully remove the soil and seedlings from the teacup. Place them in the new pot and add soil to fill the pot. Good luck!

My petunias are planted in

By SBJ

My petunias are planted in the ground and in a few pots. They look terrible. Plus I think something is eating them. What kind of remedies do you recommend against whatever is eating them? I think it may be chipmunks.

You can try to spray your

By Almanac Staff

You can try to spray your plants with a dish soap and water mix or with 50/50 ammonia and water mixed together. Check for slugs and earwigs. They like to eat petunias.

i didnt know that earwigs and

By toni w

i didnt know that earwigs and slugs eat petunias thats for the info

I have a hanging basket of

By Michelle Haynes

I have a hanging basket of pink petunias (since May) which I have been deadheading on a daily basis as the flowers die. My question is why are my pink flowers turning white?

Sometimes too much heat can

By Almanac Staff

Sometimes too much heat can fade flowers. When you water the plants try not to get water on the flowers or leaves.

I live in Alabama and a

By MacGregor Hodges

I live in Alabama and a brutal summer is upon us. I have seen my petunias starting to show a burned look. What suggestions are out there for the best way to care for them until the fall weather arrives? I thought of moving them into some shade. They are so beautiful this year and our neighborhood loves the look as I planted them in large containers along the sidewalk for everyone to enjoy.

Remove faded flowers as soon

By Almanac Staff

Remove faded flowers as soon as they begin to wilt. When summer comes, cut them back to about 4 to 6 inches. Use a water-soluble fertilizer specifically for blooming plants every other week.

I have Sugar Daddy's in

By Crystal C

I have Sugar Daddy's in hanging pots. Should I cut them back? I have one of them that hasn't been flowering well for the last 2-3 weeks. Thanks.

There is no harm in cutting

By Almanac Staff

There is no harm in cutting back your petunias; try about 4 to 6 inches. Make sure your plant is enjoying full sun and a moderate amount of watering. Try a water-soluble fertilizer to boost blooms.

what kind of firtilizer do

By Christian Parks

what kind of firtilizer do you use for patunias.

Start with good garden soil

By Almanac Staff

Start with good garden soil rich in organic matter (such as compost). When planting, work a balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8, 10-10-10, or 12-12-12 into garden soil. Later--early to mid-July--begin to use liquid fertilizer every three weeks.

When the flower has bloomed,

By By Anonymous

When the flower has bloomed, do you pull the flower off or do you cut the flower and stem off at the base of the main stem?

Prune petunias back

By Almanac Staff

Prune petunias back severely—so, yes, at the stem—for new shoots and flowers to develop. However, do not prune trailing petunias (the type that drape).

As being a Dutch guy (you

By Vincent Athens

As being a Dutch guy (you love flowers because you were born in the worlds flower capital) living now in Athens Greece I have to say I love Petunias. I use to buy them already full grown with flowers but I noticed that about 1/3 of them died. OK you have to understand that I live on the top floor where they have the whole day sun light plus a lot of wind (300 meters away from the sea) and temperatures from end April around 30c with max temperatures till 45c in July and August.

This spring I seeded for the first time my own Petunias and I was concerned about the microscopic little seeds. I believe we must had added at least 20 seeds together in a seeding tray. When they grew up I took some out, put them in water to loosen up there roots and separated them. I tell you only one survived this way while the others (with app. 20 seeds)are doing very well and have lots of flowers. So my advice use lots of seeds together and you will get a very nice mix of colors.

I have them growing in pots and they are connected to an automatic watering system. Now in May with temperatures between 27c and 32c they get water every 12 hours (they receive at least 10 hours of direct sun light per day) for 3 min. From end June they will be watered every 6 hours for 3 min (believe me they need that with this kind of heath that we have in Athens). Also I have a special device to add liquid fertilizer into the automatic watering system (about every 10 days) which works very well.

For my balcony Petunias are super plants but at the same time I would love to have some advice on other flowers/plants that would do fine in the above described climate conditions.

One more important advice: check each day for (almost) dead flowers and pull them gently out. Don't use force, if you can't get them out in an easy way then you will leave them and pull them out 1 or 2 days later.

Petunia seeds

By Anonymous

How can I save seed from my petunias? I have never seen any but can purchase seed every spring. I save my seed from all my plants wherever possible

You can save petunia seeds,

By Almanac Staff

You can save petunia seeds, however, over 99% of these flowers are hybrids so do not expect to get the same plant type or color combination. It will be an experiment!
It's easy to save the seeds. After the plant dries up, snap off the dried flowers and the seeds will pour out. Petunias often reseed themselves, too.

lady bugs??

By Anonymous

Do lady bugs kill the flowers??

Lady Bugs??

By Anonymous

No! Lady bugs are actually GOOD for flowers. Some green houses even sell lady bugs for flower beds!

Beautiful Flowers

By Anonymous

These flowers grow beautifully and very easily in Pakistan. The weather is just perfect. The only thing is that you will need to water them 2-3 times a week.Pakistan is one of the very few countries that grows mangrove trees abunduntly and easily so the soil is perfect.

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