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PETUNIA

Image of Petunia

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

PETUNIA

Plant Common Name

Petunia

General Description

Classic petunias are garden standbys. These sunny, heat-loving annuals, or tender perennials, were one of the first ornamentals to be hybridized for the bedding plant market in the 1950s. Popular Petunia hybrids are crosses between, Petunia axillaris and P. integrifolia, though there are actually around 75-Petunia species in existence—most of which are not in cultivation. All species are of North, Central or South American origin.

Petunia flowers all have a similar form and come in a wide array of colors. Blooms are generally funnel-shaped and either radial or bi-lateral in symmetry. These can be white, lavender-blue, purple, red, pink, yellow or orange-red, depending on the species or cultivar. Bi-colored flowers—either striped or edged in contrasting colors—are also common. All petunias have medium to fine, green leaves and stems that are sticky to the touch and strongly scented.

Habits vary widely. Some plants have broad, spreading habits while others are diminutive and clump-forming. In fact, cultivated petunias have been organized into several types, which are differentiated by flower-size and habit. These include groundcover-types, like those in the Wave™ series, large–flowered grandiflora and floribunda-types, and small-flowered milliflora and multiflora-types. It is important to know what type you are growing before planting and designing with Petunia.

Petunias are as easy to grow as they are pretty. They require full, hot sun and grow best in fertile soil with good drainage. They bloom best with regular feeding and will continue to flower all season if their spent stems are occasionally pruned back. Plant them anywhere where summer color is needed; they thrive in containers and will brighten the edge of any bed.

Characteristics

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    North America, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edging, Hanging Basket, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes