A favorite of American gardeners, the cheerful Petunia (Petunia) adds bright color to any garden. A low-growing annual that spreads on trailing stems, petunias have colorful trumpet-shaped blooms, often accented by a lovely deep star-like white center. Plants grow in low bushy clumps, the colorful blossoms surrounded by beautifully ruffled green leaves. Petunias bloom from late spring planting, throughout the summer and into fall, making this flower a charming addition to any garden.
Petunias are easy to grow in nearly any garden location, including full sun and partial shade. Ideally, plants should receive 3 to 6 hours of sunlight. These flowers do best in fertile, well-drained soil. Petunias should be watered as necessary to keep the soil evenly moist and may require extra watering in very hot weather. A mild liquid fertilizer applied every two weeks will promote proliferate and healthy blooms. Faded blossoms should be removed regularly to insure continuous blooming and best display.
Originally of South American origin, the petunia is related to tobacco, tomato, nightshade, potato and chili pepper plants. The name “petunia” is derived from the French word for tobacco. The petunias grown in American gardens are hybrids of the natural plant. The deep bell of the trumpet shaped petunia flower is a magnet for bees and hummingbirds which are particularly attracted to red and pink petunia varieties.
Petunias are available at local garden centers in a profusion of colors. Solid red, white, pink and purple blooms are perennial favorites with American gardeners. Petunia’s low mounding behavior makes this plant a good choice for borders along walkways or sidewalks. Colorful petunias also make stunning displays when planted en masse in front of evergreens. Striped varieties make particularly attractive displays when massed with solid colored petunias or contrasted with spiky red or purple Salvia (Salvia).