2014: Year of the Petunia

Each year, the National Garden Bureau selects one annual, perennial and vegetable to be the plant of the season.  This year, the annual they have selected is one that many people are familiar with and love to grow, the petunia.

Petunias are known for their large blooms that flower all summer long. They come in both mounding and trailing varieties, and in every color you can think of.  From the popular deep blue to peach and beautiful bi-color flowers, it seems like petunias are perfect for any container or garden. They are vigorous plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are fairly disease-resistant.

While petunias’ habits and colors are diverse, their care requirements are not. Petunias’ needs are fairly simple: sunlight, food and water.  Petunias need to be planted in full to partial sun areas. They like a lot of light and for the best results, you will want them to be in a sunny spot.

They will also want a high-phosphorus plant food, meaning it will have numbers like 10-52-10, with phosphorus being the middle number.  Feeding them at least once a month will help you get big beautiful blooms and keep your plants happy all season long.

As for water, petunias are drought tolerant, but they should not be forgotten about.  Any containers or hanging baskets need to be watered when the surface appears dry.  With beds of petunias, it is important to make sure they are not sitting in water.  Petunias do not like to have “wet feet,” as this will cause rot or mildew.  So if you have an automatic sprinkling system, make sure it’s not soaking any petunia beds.

As the summer progresses, trailing petunias may appear somewhat leggy. This can be remedied by simply cutting them back and allowing them to bush out.  Petunias will also need to be dead-headed. You can do this by simply cutting the flowers off after they have bloomed. Newer varieties like Wave and Supertunias may not need any maintenance, as they have been developed to take care of these issues themselves.

As you shop this spring for you containers and gardens, make sure to take a look at the beautiful petunias that we offer. With so many color choices and such low maintenance, you can’t go wrong with a petunia in a sunny spot!

Christian Goers