Petunia Flowers in the Garden
Petunias: Hardy Outdoor Flowers
Petunia flowers are one of the most popular annual flowers for sunny gardens. I live in a colder climate with four seasons and the petunia is considered a summer annual in my region.
Petunias bloom from spring to fall and are an easy plant to look after. This pretty and popular outdoor flower is very hardy and I certainly found this one summer when I planted them among other varieties.
My decision for this summer is to plant a flower bed exclusively made up of petunia flowers. Why? Here is my petunia story.....
This picture was taken of my flower bed one summer. You can see several petunias in bloom and yes, I know they don't look too spectacular. in fact they look quite the opposite however, there is a reason for this so here is what happened.....read on!
How to have Abundant Flowers
I was once an avid flower bed gardener. Those were the days when I was home raising my family and didn't have a job that took me away from home for eight or more hours per day.
Every year during that time I had a large display of a variety of flowers throughout the summer. I would plant flowers of all types and they flourished under my care. I was very diligent with watering and plucking off dead blooms and I fertilized them regularly. Needless to say I was very proud of my flower garden.
All this work created a very beautiful, abundant and colorful display year after year. Neighbors would ask me how I did it and I shared my "secrets" with them. However, they are not really secrets! You just pay attention to the garden with regular maintenance - water, deadhead, fertilize. It's as easy as that. I also made sure that the bed itself was dug up and new black soil was added each year before planting.
The Neglected Garden
Eventually, I went back to work outside the home and my flower garden suffered. I did not have the time and I found I lacked the motivation to keep the garden blooming. There were years I planted nothing and the bushes and perennials just filled in the blanks. Soon the perennials died off from neglect.
One year I was reminiscing about my garden of yesterday so I decided to buy a load of annuals from the garden center. I planted them around my front walkway. I soon found out, however, that bad habits die hard and I began once again to neglect the plants!
The Powerful Petunia
I must confess that I totally neglected them. They were left to fend for themselves and make do with just sun, rain and whatever nature provided. The plants slowly died off EXCEPT for the petunias! The petunias grew and blossomed. No, they were not full and abundant because I had only planted a small number of them but that few started to branch out and fill in the blanks.
So the picture tells the story. You can even see some of the "skeletal remains" of the other plant varieties.
I made a mental note to myself - buy only petunias next year!
A bed of petunias
Planting a variety of petunias in all different colors is all you really need for an attractive bed. It is much easier to take care of one variety (especially a hardy one!) as they will all have similar requirements and will flourish together. A display of one color and variety of petunia is also very striking as shown below...
Have you ever planted Petunias?
The Unstoppable Petunia
The petunia is the ultimate survivor and I found this out firsthand. This flower is originally from Argentina and it has made its way into colder climates. The petunia soon became a favorite summer time annual. Blossoms come in a wide range of colors that include white, purple and pink. There are also varieties that are variegated or striped in color. The bloom sizes range from quite large to somewhat small.
The petunias we know today are hybrids that are mixtures between petunias and other flowering plants. These hybrids have been cultivated to provide certain desirable characteristics such as a low growing, mounding or heat tolerant.
Petunia - "Kandy Kane"
This gorgeous petunia certainly earns its name. It has beautifully defined red and white stripes that make this outdoor flower very striking. It enjoys full sun but will tolerate some shade. It will grow 30 cm high and 15 cm wide or 12 inches high and 6 inches wide. Perfect for anywhere - beds, pots, hanging baskets - very versatile.
Petunia - "Dreams Pink"
This pink performer has a mounding, tight habit so you will get an abundance of blooms close together. It grows about 25 to 38 cm high and almost equality grows wide up to 30 cm. This variety prefers the sun like all petunias.
Petunia - "Purple Vein Ray"
These purple and white petunias have large flowers with striking dark purple veins. This variety is quite tolerant of the heat and will look great even during the hottest days of summer. It will grow 15 to 25 cm or 6 - 10 inches high and 20 to 30 cm or 8 - 12 inches wide. A real beauty.
Petunia - "Purple Wave"
This plant produces 3" flowers with a low growing habit that is perfect as a ground cover for the fronts of flower beds. These spreading plants are great for hanging baskets as they will drape quite elegantly over the sides. These petunias will reach a height of 10 - 15 cm (4 - 6 inches) and spread up to 150 cm (5 feet).
Petunia - Classic White
The classic look of an all white display or as a perfect accent to other colours - these petunias get the job done. They have a mounding habit and with 3 inch blooms they will create quite a show. They grow about 25 - 38 cm (10 - 15 inches) high and about 25 - 30 cm (10 - 12 inches) wide.
Dixon, Illinois is the U.S. Petunia Capital. Each year they hold a Petunia Festival that lasts for a week in early July.