The Q&A Archives: Petunias Die Early

Question: I've been planting petunias each year, and in the past they've grown well. Then about 3 years ago, they started dying within about 2 weeks of being planted. I have marigolds, celosia and salvia in the bed too and they live and grow just fine, but for the past few years the petunias have died. I can't seem to find any bugs on them. Could it be a problem with my soil pH? I have some petunias in a planter and they are doing just fine. I love petunias and I miss them in my flower bed!

Answer: Rather than improper soil pH, I would suspect a soil-borne disease of some sort. (Although it never hurts to run some basic soil tests to check nutrient levels and pH.) Some disease spores can live in the soil for years, so it's wise to avoid planting the same type of plant in one location year after year. You might try adding copious amounts of organic matter to the soil to try to help it recover and establish a healthier microbe population that can help keep disease organisms in check.

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