Petunias are perennial plants native to South America, widespread in Europe for decades, belong to the solanaceae family; despite being perennials; they fear the cold, so in our gardens they are commonly grown as annuals. The petunias on the market are all hybrid species, all producing thin stems, quite fickle, often covered by a thin down, which bear small oval leaves, slightly sticky; from May until autumn they produce numerous funnel-shaped flowers. The petunias on the market are all hybrid species, and they can be found in every color and size, from white to dark blue, from pink to blood red; we also find petunias with varied habit, in particular, erect-bearing hybrids are called petunias, hybrids with a hanging habit in Italy are called surfinie, hybrids with small flowers are often called "million bells".
Among the many hybrids we also find varieties with striated or variegated flowers, double-flowered varieties and dwarf varieties. The great availability of varieties with different colors and uninterrupted flowering throughout the summer has made petunias among the preferred pot plants to adorn the terraces of Italy, even though these plants can also find a place in the flowerbeds of the garden.
These are plants grown as annuals, generally developed from seed or from cuttings. they are planted in a good fresh rich and well-drained soil, prepared by mixing the universal soil with little sand and little chopped bark. they do not need excessively large pots, and generally they are placed in hanging baskets or in small windowsill trays. We can also place them in a flowerbed as long as they are in a very bright place, with at least a few hours of direct sunlight per day. In areas with torrid summers it is good to place them in a place facing west, so that they do not receive direct sunlight throughout the day. The positioning in decidedly shady places definitely disadvantages the blooms that can even disappear completely.
During the whole vegetative period it is good to water with good regularity; these plants endure short periods of drought, but they are surely benefiting from an always quite moist soil. We also avoid excess water, watering only if the soil has slightly dried, without completely soaking it with water.
During the summer months, and especially if our petunias are planted in a small container, it will surely be beneficial to place a saucer under the pot: when we water we fill the saucer with water, the plant will quickly draw on this small reserve of water and will hardly remain. completely dry.
From May to September we provide specific fertilizer for flowering plants, mixed with the water used for watering.
Normally we remove the withered flowers that remain in the vegetation, and if we notice that our petunia tends to stretch the branches too much, we can do so without hesitation: we will favor the development of a bush more dense and full of flowers.
Pests of petunias
If positioned in a very sunny place, petunias are often attacked by red spider mites, which ruin their foliage; during the cooler months, petunias are easy prey for aphids, which devour their delicate leaves. In both cases we promptly intervene with an insecticide, to prevent the insects from irreparably ruining the plants.
Petunia - Petunia: Sow the petunias
Many varieties of petunia produce infertile seeds, while many others produce numerous small, perfectly fertile black seeds. These seeds do not fear the cold, and often sprout freely in the petunias' pot left empty during the winter.
We can produce many petunia seedlings by sowing small seeds already in February-March, in a seedbed to keep wet and cool until early spring; if we have taken the seeds from our petunias on the balcony the seeds will not easily be fertile, or they will produce seedlings with flowers completely different from those of the plant from which we took the seeds.
If we want to produce seed petunias of a fixed color, let's turn to seed dealers who will select them for us.