Petunia is one of the most popular garden plants, as they bloom abundantly in the summer until fall. They are easily recognizable with their showy, trumpet-shaped flowers and hairy, and somewhat sticky foliage.
They are available in just about every colour except for true blue. They can be single or double blooms.
Gardeners love growing these vibrant and attractive flowers because they are easy to grow and are heat-tolerant. Petunias have a tendency to mound or cascade, making them ideal as borders in garden beds or in hanging planters and window boxes.
Petunias will perform best in full sun. In fact, they need at least 5 hours of sunlight. They can grow in most soil conditions, as long as it’s well-drained.
Many of the varieties are hybrids. There are 4 main types of petunias: grandiflora, hedgiflora, multiflora and milliflora. Grandiflora are the most popular type of petunia. They have the largest flowers and the most variations in terms of form and colour.
They are also the most likely to be damaged by heavy rain. Hedgiflora or spreading petunias are usually ground cover plants that can spread quickly up to 3-4 feet given the right conditions. They are ideal for hanging baskets and window boxes.
Multiflora are compact in size, about half the size of the grandiflora and tend to be more hardy. It is less likely to be damaged in heavy rain and is more sun-tolerant. Milliflora are the smallest type, with flowers growing to be about an inch wide.
These miniature plants produce an abundance of flowers. They are commonly used as edging plants and often mixed with other flowers.
Interesting Facts About the Petunia
The name petunia comes from the Brazillian word petun, which means “tobacco”.
Petunias can be crossed with tobacco plants.
It is a genus of about 35 flowering plants native to South America.
The plant is closely related to .tobacco, tomatoes, potatoes and chili peppers.
Common garden petunias are edible and taste mildly sweet and spicy.
Petunias attract hummingbirds and moths.
Petunia flowers can have flowers as large as 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter, and they have five lobed petals, with varieties including double flowers and ruffled petals.
In the language of flowers, the petunia symbolizes “I’m furious!”.
Planting & Care of Petunia
You can grow petunias from seeds and 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.
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. 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.