How To Grow Petunias



Petunias are an old-time favorite flower. They bloom most of the summer and have a nice fragrance as well. Petunias can grow in pots, on balconies, in window boxes, hanging baskets and wine barrels. These beauties add bright colored flowers and bring attention anywhere they are grown.

Petunias grow twelve to fifteen inches tall except for the tiny mini variety and the spreading new wave petunias.

Petunias can grow in most well drained garden soils. Dig up the soil until light and add compost or manure or work in a balanced fertilizer.

Petunias produce more flowers if grown in full sun but do well in any area where they get at least 6 hours of sunlight.

Petunias should be watered to a depth of six to eight inches once a week. Plants in pots or other containers will need to be watered more often.

Seeds can be planted indoors or directly out in the garden but for earlier blooms start seeds indoors anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks before the last frost.

Sow the seeds and cover very lightly with one-eighth inch of soil. Water thoroughly and keep warm.

Harden off the young petunia plants before planting outside.

Transplant petunia seedlings into your garden when they have three true leaves and after the last frost. Space them ten to twelve inches apart. Try to transplant on a cloudy day. Plant the petunias at the same depth as they are in the containers and water thoroughly.

When plants are about six inches tall pinch back the plants to encourage sideshoots and branching to produce bushier plants and more flowers. Do not pinch the tiny varieties or the spreading types of pentunias.

Remove spent blooms to prevent the plant from going to seed. This will keep the plant producing flowers until a hard freeze in the autumn.

Petunias are susceptible to wilts and fungal diseases but these are rare if plants are well drained and not overwatered. In humid weather pick off any blooms that get black mold or other symptoms of fungus. When the sunshine returns the plants will recover just fine.

Aphids and slugs are about the only pests which attack petunias.

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Author: Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
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