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  HOME AND GARDEN » Annuals  


Brightly colored petunias are easy to grow and add an elegant touch to the garden. Choose dwarf types to plant as edgings or use trailing selections in hanging baskets or as colorful ground covers. Because plant size and habit varies with selections, it is important to check the plant tags. Petunias will grow in any well-drained soil and plenty of sun is needed to help them flower well. Planted in spring, petunias are capable of blooming through summer until the first hard freeze in fall, but they will need regular snipping back and feeding to keep them fresh. In areas without hard freezes, petunias can also be planted in fall.


When planting petunias in beds, cultivate the planting site at least 8 inches deep and mix in a 2-inch deep layer of flower planting mix, compost, or other type of organic matter. If your soil is heavy clay, also mix in some sand to help it drain faster. Just before planting, mix in a timed-release fertilizer with a high middle number, such as 11-40-6. The extra phosphorous will help the plants develop extensive roots.

Petunias often benefit from cutting back in midsummer. Use sharp pruning shears to cut off long, leggy stems and then fertilize the plants with 17-17-17 containing timed-release fertilizer. Sprinkle this "booster feeding" into the soil between the plants and water well. When growing petunias in containers, fertilize them more often by sprinkling a teaspoon of fertilizer per plant atop the soil in the pots about once a month.



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