LSU AgCenter Horticulturist
Just like the name suggests, Supertunias are epic and bold. This petunia series is an award winner and bestseller in garden centers across the U.S.
This fall, the LSU AgCenter is adding Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo to the cool-season bedding plants on the Louisiana Super Plant list. It joins Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, which was named a Super Plant in 2017. Both are outstanding cool-season annual bedding plants for all of Louisiana.
Petunias are one of the most popular annuals in home gardens. These flowers were discovered in Argentina in the mid-1800s by a French botanist named Petun, which is how the flower got its name. Petun started the flowers from seeds he collected and brought back to Europe, where they became popular.
Older varieties of petunias suffered in Louisiana’s hot and humid climate, but new breeding has improved their heat tolerance. Supertunias are easy-care plants that need little routine maintenance. They grow best in full to partial sun, and they perform well in many types of soils as long as they are well drained. Petunias prefer an acidic soil in the pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
Plants grow to an average height of 6 to 12 inches and can trail up to 2 to 3 feet. Space plants in the garden at a 12-to-24-inch spacing. Mulch with pine straw, leaves or pine bark to help maintain a clean appearance of the landscape bed, minimize moisture loss and help control weeds. Mulches also insulate the soil, keeping roots warm when temperatures drop.
Petunias do well in both landscape beds and in container plantings. Plants will produce the most flowers if an application of controlled-release fertilizer is incorporated into the soil at the time of planting for both landscape and container plantings.
Petunias in containers will need to be fed more regularly, as nutrients leach from the containers with every watering. You can feed with a liquid fertilizer every 14 days, or you can apply a controlled, slow-release fertilizer about every two months. All varieties of Supertunias are heavy feeders.
Supertunias have a vigorous growth rate with a mounding, trailing habit. Petunias have been used for their beautiful flowers and colors in the landscape to attract pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds. Supertunias are continuous bloomers and are self-cleaning, meaning they do not have to be deadheaded to encourage new blooms. Plants are most commonly used as an edging plant or groundcover in the landscape and as filler and spiller in container plantings. They are also excellent selections for hanging baskets.
If your plant begins to look thin, leggy or a bit tired, an allover trim can be beneficial. Use a sharp pair of pruners or scissors to trim back up to one-third of the plant. After trimming, it is a good practice to apply a water-soluble fertilizer to provide plants a jump on new growth and to encourage branching and robust flowers.
Supertunia Vista Bubblegum and Supertunia Vista Mini Indigo are two of Louisiana’s most durable petunia varieties. They both look great when mass-planted in the landscape bed for a striking display of color. Bubblegum is a vibrant pink, while Indigo offers shades of purple.
Both petunias work equally well in containers and hanging baskets where the flowers can cascade over the edges. Always plant the transplants at the original cell pack or pot depth. Both varieties can commonly be found in 4-inch or in 6-inch pots at garden centers.
Fall plantings of petunias overwinter well and provide blooms until late May. Late winter- and early spring-planted petunias normally last only until early June, but if the weather cooperates, the more heat-tolerant petunias — like Supertunia Vista Bubblegum and Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo — can be survive summer successfully.
There are eight series of Supertunias on the market and they are categorized by their flower and foliage sizes. The Supertunia Charm and Mini Vista series have miniature flowers with a global trailing habit of 2 feet and 4 feet, respectively. The Supertunia Trailing series has medium-sized flowers with a 6-foot trailing habit. Suptertunia, Supertunia Double, Supertunia Picasso and Supertunia Vista all have large flowers and trail up to 4 feet. Supertunia Giant has even bigger flowers with a vigorous trailing habit of 6 feet.
There are many types of Supertunia hybrids available at garden centers this fall. The newest cultivars offered are Honey, Really Red, Picasso, Latte, Royal Velvet, Bordeaux, White, Limoncello, Raspberry Rush, Lovie Dovie, Trailing Strawberry Pink Veined, Black Cherry, Daybreak Charm, Blue Skies, Trailing Silver, Giant Pink, Trailing Blue Veined, Trailing Rose Veined, Royal Magenta, Bermuda Beach, Mulberry Charm and Trailing Blue. Also look for the Double petunia hybrids, Priscilla and Sharon.
Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo has been named a fall 2021 Louisiana Super Plant selection. Photo by Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter
Supertunia Vista Bubblegum can spread up to 4 feet. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter
Supertunia Vista Bubblegum in 25-gallon containers. Photo provided by Gary Bachman/Mississippi State University
Supertunia Honey. LSU AgCenter photo