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More info about Petunia




Petunia is a, trumpet shaped, widely-cultivated genus of flowering plants of South American origin, in the family Solanaceae. The popular flower got its name from French, which took the word petun ‘tobacco’ from a Tupi-Guarani language. Most of the varieties seen in gardens are hybrids (Petunia x hybrida). Many open-pollinated species are also gaining popularity in the home garden. A wide range of flower colors, sizes, and plant architectures are available in both the hybrid and open-pollinated species. Height can vary from 6 inches to 18 inches. Spread can be from 18inches to 4 feet. The size of the flowers varies from an inch in diameter from 5 to 6inches.
Petunias are one of the best summer flowering annuals for massed display, and they also look good in pots and hanging baskets. Use petunias in beds and borders. The spreading grandifloras are best appreciated trailing over the sides of hanging baskets or containers. Petunias can be found in every color of the rainbow in solids, contrasting veins or edges, and star patterns. The flowers may be large or small, ruffled, fringed, or double. They bloom from spring until frost. Many petunias, especially white and lavender cultivars have a very sweet fragrance. You can expect blooms throughout the summer and into autumn if faded flowers are removed regularly. Plants quickly grow to a height of 10-16 inches. Petunias can be used as cut flowers, but they look their best in garden displays.
If growing petunias, it’s best to leave them in full sunlight and only water them when their soil is dry to the touch. They will become spindly and have few flowers if grown in shade. Although generally grown as annuals (at least in temperate areas), they are perennial in warm climates (roughly zone 9 or warmer).
Petunias grow well in most soils. Best growth occurs in well-drained, light soil of medium fertility. If the soil or the area is poorly drained, you can build raised beds to grow good petunias. They prefer soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Adequate soil fertility can be maintained by working a complete fertilizer, such as a 5- 10-5, into the soil each spring. Use about 2 to 3 pounds per 100 square feet of planting space. Soil drainage can be improved by incorporating organic matter (compost, peat, or well-rotted manure) into the upper 6 to 8 inches of soil.
When buying petunias in the spring, select compact, stocky plants. Tall, spindly plants take considerably longer to recover from transplanting. Once purchased, harden the plants outdoors for a few days before planting them into the garden. Initially place plants in a shady, protected area and then gradually expose them to direct sun. Bring them indoors at night if freezing temperature are predicted. Petunias can be transplanted into the garden after the danger of frost has passed. In central Iowa, the last frost usually occurs around May 5-10. Plant petunias about 12 inches apart. Pinch back the plants to encourage branching. Pinching is especially helpful for tall, leggy plants.





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