Petunias are one of the most popular summer bedding plants. There are hundreds of colorful cultivars. Petunias come in a wide range of plant sizes and forms. Some are suited for massing flower beds and borders; others trail and sprawl; others are compact and well-suited for hanging baskets and window boxes.
Petunias are available in red, pink, lavender, purple, white, and pale yellow; many are striped in contrasting colors. Flowers range from the size of a penny to the size of a saucer.
Get to Know Petunia
- Plant type: Annual
- Growing zones and range: All zones in summer
- Hardiness: Tender
- Height and width: 6 to 24 inches (15-61cm) tall; 12 to 24 inches (30-61cm) wide
- Foliage: Thick, broad leaves are slightly sticky to the touch
- Flowers: Flowers vary from funnel-shaped single blooms to densely double, heavily ruffled flowers that resemble carnations; flowers range in size from 1 to 6 inches (2.5-15cm) across; nearly every color except green, many pastels; also bicolor and picotee flowers
- Uses: Mass in beds and borders; hanging baskets, containers, window boxes
- Bloom time: Summer until frost
- Botanical name: Petunia spp.
- Common name: Petunia
Where to Plant Petunia
- Plant petunias in full sun.
- Grow petunias in rich to poor, well-drained soil; petunias tolerate alkaline soil.
When to Plant Petunia
- Set petunias in the garden in spring after all danger of frost has passed.
- Plant petunias in fall in zones 10 and 11.
Planting and Spacing Petunia
- Space petunias from 4 to 12 inches (10-33cm) apart depending on cultivar.
How to Water and Feed Petunia
- Petunias need moderate water
- Fertilize petunias every 2 to 4 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer or work a slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting time.
- Mulch around petunias to conserve moisture and keep sticky leaves clean.
- Deadhead spent blossoms to encourage more blooms.
- Pinch back plants regularly to encourage compact growth.
- Cut back leggy plants from mid to late summer; cut back to one-third the size to keep plants tidy and to rejuvenate them.
- Petunias can be damage by botrytis disease in humid weather.
Petunia Varieties to Grow
Visit a local nursery to see the wide selection of cultivars. Visit several nurseries to see what different vendors are growing.