Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pretty Petunias

Veseys PETUNIAS...In every colour of the Rainbow of our most popular types of flower seed, and is it any wonder why?  Petunias have been around for a long time.  I have fond memories planting them either with my nanny or my mom around the yard at our family farm, and that wasn't just yesterday. Petunias have evolved greatly over the years and are now available anywhere from Multiflora to Climbing types, we are so fortunate to have these choices. There are multitudes of single colours, combos and fuseable varieties to choose from as well. You may be wondering what we are referring to when we use the term fuseable. Each fuseable pellet consists of two different types of seed varieties enclosed. Each combination will be a perfect planting every time and takes the guess work out of mixing your own colours. Pictured below is one of our fuseable varieties that we have listed known as Silk and Satin.  This is a perfect mix of pink easy wave Petunia and Snowtopia Bacopa. The ever popular trailing petunias known as the waves are the best ones on the market. Waves require no pinching or pruning and still have a season long bloom, although throughout the growing season, some pinching will produce bushier baskets. Petunias are so versatile as they can be grown as a groundcover, or make a stunning display in hanging baskets, pots and window boxes.

     Start Petunia seed indoors 8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Petunia seed is quite tiny and can easily be lost.  Over the past number of years, Petunia seed has become available in pelleted form (this simply just means a clay outer coating that surrounds the seed and makes them easier to handle). This also benefits the gardener with precise planting. If you would rather not start your Petunias indoors or have limited space for growing, we do offer beautiful varieties of these as starter plants as well.  You can check out our website for starter plants information as well as ordering details. This will still enable you to choose your own creativity.  Pictured below is a sample of one of our starter combo kits with petunias or choose Petunias as a single colour in a collection to have fun with and use your own imagination:

     Aside from the Petunia seed being so tiny, Petunias are quite easy to start indoors. Please check out our new instagram video demonstrating tips and ideas for starting your own. If you live in an area with a similar zone as ours, (5-6), then now is a great time to get them started if you haven't already. As mentioned, Petunia seed is so tiny and now comes in a pelleted form.  When sowing these seeds, start 8 weeks before last frost. Sprinkle the tiny seed onto soil surface and gently press them in but do not cover with growing mix. It is best to provide light and constant warmth of 21-24 C at this stage. Use a bottom heat source for best results.

Once the plants have successfully germinated, remove bottom heat but continue to provide at least 8 hours of light to prevent leggy and stretched seedlings. Use care when watering at the base of the plant and not overhead. Once the seedlings have at least the second set of true leaves, it is recommended to start applying fertilizer every 10 days.  Petunia seedlings can be successfully transplanted to a larger pot if needed prior to transplanting outdoors. These plants can slowly be introduced to the outdoors known as what we would call "hardening off". Once plants have adapted to being outside and the risk of frost has passed, you can safely plant, hang or display them in a permanent location.


    When transplanting outdoors, Petunias will perform best and enjoy a location that receives at least 6 hours of sun.  They also grow best in soil that is fertile and drains well. For wave type petunias, be sure to allow at least 12-18 inch spacing between plants if planting in your landscape, or 1 to 3 plants per 10" container. If you choose to grow Tidal Wave petunias, 12 inch spacing will force the plants to grow 2 feet tall, or wider spacing to allow more of a ground cover.

      It is just as beneficial to remain feeding with fertilizer every 10-14 days through-out the season or at least until there is good establishment. Don't be afraid to pinch back or snip long spindly areas as this will help the plant to maintain a more healthy, bushy and well branched form. If you find your containers are starting to look a little sad :( then you may want to do a little rejuvinating later in the season.  You can check out our Rejuvinating Containers Video to learn easy tips to make them beautiful once again.
     I have always found that if you have a hanging basket or container of Petunias, and unfavourable weather conditions are forecasted such as wind or rain, it is always best to set them down on the ground or set them in a sheltered location.  Petunias are very resilient and will bounce back to their wave form
     You can always find just the right Petunia colour and form that will be the perfect fit for your home whether its large or small spaces. Get out and enjoy the displays in your neighborhood, parks or even just sitting back and relaxing in your own yard, I hope!
Happy Flower Gardening! :)   

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