Plant petunias now through mid-October

Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.  |  9/20/2012 11:51:56 PM

Explorer White petunias. (Photo by Allen Owings. Click on photo for downloadable image.)

News Release Distributed 09/20/12

By Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter horticulturist

Petunias are one of the most popular flowers in Louisiana. They can be planted in fall for cool-season color or planted in late winter or early spring for warm-season color. As with almost all bedding plants these days, you can find a wide assortment of petunias at local garden centers.

For best results, plant petunias in September through early November or late January through mid-March. Petunias do better during winter in south Louisiana. Their performance depends significantly on how cold a winter we have.

Many flower colors are available in petunias. You can find single-flowered petunias and double-flowered petunias. Normally, the single-flower forms are more reliable than the double-flower forms in the long term.

Some “best management practices” to provide enjoyment from your petunias from now through late spring include:

– Properly prepare the landscape bed to allow for good internal drainage and aeration.

– Add fresh, nutrient-rich, finished compost to landscape beds to provide nutrients.

– For a traditional fertilizer approach, apply a slow-release fertilizer at planting.

– Make sure landscape beds have a soil pH between 5.5-6.0.

– Select a full-sun location in the landscape. If you want petunias to extend longer into the summer, plant in a partially shaded location but realize flowering will be less.

– Complete late winter or early spring petunia planting by mid-March.

– Use irrigation only when needed. Over-watering leads to root rot and stem dieback problems.

– Be aggressive and plant in masses for the best visual enhancement.

– For performance longer into the late spring months, lightly deadhead after the first peak bloom.

Great petunia varieties include the Wave, Easy Wave, Tidal Wave, Shock Wave, Madness, Dreams and Supertunias. Petunias are popular bedding plants and are not difficult to grow. Just follow these recommendations and select nice, vigorous, healthy plants to get you started.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by viewing the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals.

Rick Bogren

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