Petunia is a very popular and widely planted genus, which originated from South America, and is closely related to the humble potato. Petunias are ideal basket and container plants which can flower all summer long providing that you dead head them regularly.
Petunias come in a variety of blooms including single and double, ruffled or smooth petals. They can be striped, veined or solid in colour, with mounding or cascading habits. Most of the petunias sold today are hybrids developed for specific design purposes such as fragrance. The two oldest types of petunias are grandifloras and multifloras. Both types are mounding in their habit of growth, grandiflora has larger flowers whilst the multifloras perform better in wet conditions.
Spreading type petunias which include the ‘Surfinia’ series are some of the most popular petunias because they do not need dead heading and they can be used as bedding plants, groundcovers or trailing in containers and hanging baskets
Calibrachoa or ‘Million Bells’ look like tiny petunias but are in fact an entirely different species.
Petunias can be grown in blocks, or mixed with other bedding plants to produce a vibrant range of colour and flower shapes. They need full sun and can tolerate a wide range of soils. Multipurpose compost is suitable when growing petunias in containers. They are not frost tolerant, so only put them out once all danger of frost has passed.
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