Petunia – Plant of the Week (26th July)

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Some might say that a petunia is old fashioned or gaudy, but I love them. They provide such a vibrant burst of colour and can be grown quite simply from seed. I think my love of petunias comes from the big, bold displays of hanging baskets that the town council put around the seafront railings in the summer. For me, they are synonymous with high summer.

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

This is the first year that I had success with growing petunias from seed. They do take a long while to germinate; mine took 3-4 weeks; but after that they grow on quite quickly. They are not particularly good for pollinators, but I love the colour they provide. I do make sure to provide some food for pollinators in the form of other types of flower in the garden. As with many annuals, this plant is native to South America, where it thrives in the warmer climate.

Other Names for Petunia

Petunias are generally only known as petunias. Their name comes from the Tupi-Guarani word “petun” which means tobacco.

A bright selection of peach, pink, purple and orange petunia flowers.
Photo by Emma Gossett on Unsplash

Petunia Likes

It is popular to grown petunias in hanging baskets or patio containers, although they can also be grown in the border. It’s important not to let them dry out completely. This is especially important if you’re growing them in a container, as these are prone to going dry.

Petunia Dislikes

Snails can be a problem, which is why I tend to grow my petunias in hanging baskets where snails and slugs are less likely to be a bother.

Special Care

Feeding weekly with a tomato feed is a good idea to keep the plant healthy enough to produce new flowers. It will also encourage new flower growth if you deadhead all the spent flowers. If you don’t, the plant will go to seed and you could collect the seed to sow the following year.

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