Growing petunias in your garden is a great idea. It helps to make your garden look more colorful and bright especially since they continuously bloom flowers from the spring until frost. Available in a wide variety of colors, most of the petunia varieties are ideal for growing in containers. If you plan on growing them in hanging baskets, opt for the cascading types of petunias. To ensure success in growing petunias, here are some tips for growing petunias in containers.
1. Choose the Right Variety
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One of the most interesting petunia flower facts is that these flowers are actually available in 35 different species and there are more than 400 petunia varieties and cultivars. In order to be able to successfully grow petunias in pots, make sure you choose the variety that can thrive well when grown in containers or pots. Choose special trailing petunias since these varieties tend to perform well when grown in containers.
2. Grow Petunias from Transplants
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Growing petunias from seed is possible. However, if you want to ensure successful growth, you better grow them from transplants. There are many different types of petunias that are available as transplants. You can order them in the mail or from your local garden center.
3. Don’t Cover the Seeds with Soil
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If you prefer growing petunias from seed, do not cover the seeds with soil. The seeds need light in order to successfully germinate. Furthermore, make sure you water from below in order for the seeds not to be disturbed. When grown from seeds, petunias should be able to germinate within 5 to 15 days.
It’s also important that you know when to plant petunias. Ideally, it should be six to ten weeks before the last expected frost date in your area. So once you have the right soil, fill the container with about 2-inch deep soil and you can start sowing the seeds.
4. Prepare the Right Soil
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One of the most important tips to keep in mind when growing petunias in a container is to provide the right soil. The soil should be able to drain freely well. Use a soil-less mix to ensure successful growth. You can either buy this kind of soil or prepare it on your own. Look for soil mix recipes online if you choose to prepare the soil on your own.
Also Read: 31 Beneficial Tips for Container Gardening
5. Space them Properly
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When growing petunias in a container, it’s important to avoid crowding the plants. Limit yourself up to three transplants for every pot or container. When growing petunias from seeds, make sure you scatter the seeds well. Overcrowding will result in too many seedlings growing on only a small area. It will also invite fungi that could lead to powdery mildew diseases and other fungi-related diseases.
6. Soak Under the Sun
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One of the best ways to encourage your petunias to bloom abundantly is to soak them under the sun. Leave them under the sun for up to six hours each day. These flowers love the warm weather and would prefer a lot of sunlight. Therefore, place your potted petunia in an area that receives a good amount of sunlight.
7. Water Moderately
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Avoid overwatering especially when growing petunias in containers. In fact, overwatering is one of the main reasons why container grown petunias often die. The plant requires moderate watering and can thrive well in a slightly moist soil. Water the plant regularly but with a moderate amount of water. Let the soil dry out in between watering spells so as to avoid root rot.
8. Fertilize To Encourage More Blooms
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Petunias are needy and greedy when it comes to fertilizer. This applies to all types of petunias. You can either apply slow-release fertilizer during the time of planting or feed them with diluted liquid fertilizer every other week. In addition, applying compost on the top surface can also help encourage blooms. If your petunias have lush foliage, but fewer flowers, then you need to feed it with a fertilizer that’s low in nitrogen.
Also Read: Top 21 Mythical Flowers and Plants
9. Pinching Is Necessary
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If you have purchased petunia transplants from a garden center, consider pinching off the top portion to about one-inch from each stem. Remove all flowers, if there are any, before planting. On the other hand, if you’ve grown them from seeds, pinch them once they are about six inches tall. This is to promote a more vigorous side shoots. But this tip is not applicable to other types of petunias, such as the Milifloras.
10. Deadheading is a Must
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Deadheading is one of the most important petunia care tips to keep in mind when growing petunias. Take time to remove all the faded flowers. That way, the plant can use its energy to produce more blooms. It’s also a good idea to take away the seed developing area that’s underneath each flower.
11. Watch Out for Pests
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Another important tip when growing petunias in pots is to be watchful of pests. Common garden pests, like aphids, often attack these beautiful flowering plants the most. Therefore, keep a watchful eye on them. Check the area under the leaves to look for the presence of aphids and other pests.
Also Read: 25 Best Full Sun Flowers
How to Care for Petunias
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Now that you know some tips on growing petunias, including when to plant petunias, it’s time to learn some tips on how to properly care for them.
Petunia care is pretty easy. One of the issues that you could encounter when growing petunias in pots is that the soil could get heat up very easily and are prone to drying faster as compared to when you grow them in the garden. However, petunias are usually hot and dry hardy. But this does not mean that you just simply neglect your petunias. You should allow the soil to completely dry out in between waterings.
After every few days, take time to give your plants a long and slow drink. However, avoid wetting the flowers and the foliage as this could promote the development of diseases. Therefore, try to water either from below or near to the soil surface. But be careful not to waterlog the roots. Thus, ensure that your container has enough drainage for the water to drain.
One of the most important petunia flower facts that you should know is that these flowers are very heavy feeders. As mentioned above, apply slow release fertilizer at the start of planting. All throughout the entire season, follow this up with a liquid fertilizer after every week or two.
Another important petunia care tip is to prune your petunias. You can use your fingers to pinch the tip of the non-flowering stems. However, if the plant has gotten too leggy and you’re seeing very long stems that only produces flowers at the ends, use scissors to cut the entire stem.
When using scissors for pruning, make sure you sterilize it with rubbing alcohol after every pruning session. This is especially true if you’ve used it to cut off disease stems. Sterilizing the garden shears can help to prevent the spread of pests and diseases, from one petunia plant to another.
Growing petunias in containers is not really that difficult. For as long as you follow the tips above, you should be able to successfully grow your petunias even if you’re new to gardening.