How to Grow Petunia


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.
Pink petunias in a hanging basket
Pink petunias in a hanging basket

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.

Petunia Care

  • 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.

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