Being the fan of single flowers that I am, I do like petunias. The simple trumpet shaped flowers come in a wide range of forms and colors. The bloom their hearts out, asking little in return. Even the lax and weedy growing species petunia integrifolia is lovely in a cottage garden. Caring for them is very easy-a little benign neglect can be beneficial. All that seems to bother them is cool and very rainy weather. It seems like every year new varieties come to market, and I find few I wouldn’t have. This supertunia vista silverberry small flowered petunia with a carmine throat is prolific in bloom. Though graceful and delicate in appearance, it is tough enough to survive the care of a brownie scout going for her first badge.
The mini petunias are great little mixers. They go well with other petunias, licorice, diamond frost euphorbia-even plectranthus. If petunias seem to peter out for you later in the summer, a very light and every so often trim back and regular feeding can keep them going late into the season.
The wave series of petunias are very strong spreaders. Purple wave is a shockingly intense carmine color-wow. One plant can cover a lot of ground with a lot of color. They seem to want more water than other petunias, but that is easy enough to supply. Don’t be afraid to plant them far apart in ground-they fill in as soon as the weather gets warm. Though petunias are tolerant of cool weather, I like to wait until the soil gets warm before I plant them. They are native to Argentina, not Michigan.
This pot of mixed petunias and red parasol mandevillea is a lot of look. Single flowers are striking; masses of single flowers make a big statement. A little frivolous yes-but who wouldn’t welcome a little frivolity now and then?
Petunias make good neighbors. I like mixed pots-should the season not favor one plant or another, the entire pot is not a loss. Verbena and million bells both have that rambling habit; the variation in flower shape and size has a naturally beautiful appearance. Everyone here is singing their own tune, but it all seems to harmonize.
This fuchsia petunia is also from the Vista series-I like how they perform. Though the pink hibiscus standards are the star of the show, the small petunias add lots of texture and volume. The hibiscus trees are weighted visually at the bottom.
This double white petunia is new to me this year. The grower fussed about its tendency to get leggy. Any plants shortcomings is likely to be mitigated by another plant that softens the fault. You just have to find the right plant. In this case, the euphorbia hides those long legs.
Neon is an apt name for this petunia. I am especially interested in how the yellow throat sets off that carmine pink so dramatically. This petunia can soften up the habit of an orange marigold without diluting its best feature-that electric orange.
Should all that excitement prove to be too much for you, there is always a white petunia. Or in this case, a vanilla petunia. It is a soft white that looks good with everything. I am bemused by those who find petunias entirely too pedestrian. They do a great job of looking fresh and dressed up every day of the summer.