The petunias most people are familiar with are the hybrid varieties; single, doubles, ruffled, wave and more. Petunias are extremely easy to grow, add bright bursts of color to any container or ground bed, bloom continually from early summer to the first hard frost and are easily managed.

WHERE & HOW TO BEGIN

Hybrid petunias are annuals and are usually obtained by gardeners as seedling plants. This allows for knowing what color the blooms will be. And oh, what a choice there is! Red, white, yellow, pink, purple, salmon and striped are all readily available for as little as $2 to $3.

Others might choose to start their annual varieties from seed. It is not difficult to do, but you must start in late winter in order to have plants to plant when the soil is ready and all danger of frost is gone.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF PETUNIA

Those who are more into non-hybrid flowers (heirlooms) will most likely prefer the old-fashioned heirloom petunia. These wonderful flowers could justifiably be considered perennials due to the fact that they re-seed themselves year after year-even in climates that have sub-freezing temperatures during the winter months.

The heirloom petunia has a much smaller bloom than the hybrid types in an array of pinks, purples and white. Other differences include smaller leaves and taller, spindlier plants. If not controlled by pinching back, the heirloom petunia will vine and climb. Oh, and let’s not leave out the delightful fact that heirloom petunias have a delicately spicy scent; most obvious in the morning and evening dew and after a rain shower.

To grow, simply allow the seed pods to drop their seeds at will or gather the tiny seeds when the seed pods dry and distribute them in the fall where you wish them to grow in the spring.

PETUNIA PREFERENCES

Petunias are forgiving of poor soil conditions but will do best in a loose, well-draining soil. When potted, petunias will need more water than if they are in the ground, but don’t let water stand in the pot or on the ground where they live. Petunias enjoy sunshine, but too much direct sunshine in excessive heat and dry times will require them to need more water than usual.

Petunias love to show off their color, so be sure to deadhead to keep the blooms coming.

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