Robyn d’Albertanson has been writing her garden blog www.pot-to-pen.co.uk for the past 3 years, accompanied by her own photographs. She spent a career in the garden centre industry, then nipped off for a while to learn all about computers and administration and is now blogging about her plant experiences. Robyn is a Probationary Member of the Garden Media Guild.
Link to Blog: http://www.pot-to-pen.co.uk
What’s not to like about Petunias?
I’m singing the praises of these non-stop flowerers
In my view, Petunias are considered like ‘Marmite’ – Love or loathe. But, what’s not to like when they pack a fantastic colour punch, flowering their socks off all summer and there’s such a variety of different types to choose from now? I’m including the smaller, more recently introduced Calibrachoas too, which have mini-Petunia like flowers.
There’s an ever-increasing range of more modern half-hardy bedding alternatives to fill your pots and bedding schemes these days, but Petunias are good old stalwarts. With plant breeding and research, the choice of colours available now is simply astonishing, with single, double and even treble flowers. In some varieties the flower stickiness which was always a gripe when doing the deadheading rounds, has almost gone. The weather resistance has been vastly improved, but thankfully, that familiar Petunia smell has been retained.
From the teeny Trixi Calibrachoa Petticoat Mix,
to the soft coloured Calibrachoa ‘Sunlight’ from the ‘Can Can’ Series,
to the sumptuous ‘Caramel Yellow’ Petunia (pictured at the top of this post), to the ridiculously crazy and brash stripy numbers such as Petunia ‘Crazy Ripple’,
and even to the sweetly fragrant (Yes, really!) elegant double flowered ‘Melissa’ from the #Petunia Scented Falls Series. I planted these with white Bacopa and the two complemented each other beautifully.
I love the way Petunia flowers unfurl and even the back of some have amazing detail, shown is P. ‘Cinnamon’ and P. ‘French Vanilla’.
Interesting the Calibrachoa types, or ‘Callies’ as they’re sometimes affectionately known, seem to ‘hug’ the pot they’re in, creating neat mounds (pictured below are trailing mini-Petunia ‘Callie Mango’). I’ve also noticed the interesting shadows they can make too (This is Calibrachoa ‘Starlight Blue’).
A real star from my recent bedding plant combinations have been the Super Petunias (I used P. ‘French Vanilla’, ‘Cinnamon’ and ‘Caramel Yellow’), which grew into an almost perfect globe of flowers. ‘Supers’ are a new generation of Petunia and Calibrachoa Hybrids producing a ‘Petunia’ that brings together the best qualities of both plants – the flower size of a conventional Petunia, with the continuous flowering quality and weather resistance of the Calibrachoa.
Petunias and their smaller counterparts are excellent companions for other bedding plants. Petunias tend to be more thuggish than the Calibrachoas so choose planting partners with a similar growing habit.
So, you can see just from my small snapshot of varieties, you’ll definitely find one to suit your colour taste, location – whether in a container or border, style – to trail and tumble over your pots and in your baskets, or to make an upright rounded display.
- Only plant outside when all risk of frost has passed
- Use a good quality potting compost for container growing
- Planting in odd numbers works best for a balanced display
- Raise pots off the ground using ‘pot-feet’ to aid drainage
- Position in full sun or part shade
- Keep well-watered and feed regularly for that extra bit of flowering umph
- Dead-head where you can – admittedly the tiny ones are near impossible!
You’ll find Petunias in Garden Centres, Nurseries and online as plugs and ready-grown plants. I bought Trixi Calibrachoa Petticoat Mix and the scented Petunia from Mr Fothergills and the Super Petunias from Suttons.
This season I’m looking forward to trying the interesting sounding Petunia Mystical Midnight Gold with ruffled petals, a formal looking Pinstripe Petunia and of course, I can’t resist a Callie, the Chameleon varieties have grabbed my attention this time.
Article and photographs by Robyn d’Albertanson