The Q&A Archives: wave petunia

Question: I have wave Petunias in a clay pot that looked great. After the heavy rains and hot days they look dried. The pot seems to hold the water. Is it the moisture or the heat that is hurting them? Do you know if you can drill a drainage hole in clay without cracking it?

Answer: If the clay pot is a decorative one rather than one designed for planting, there may be a problem with proper damage. In general, clay pots are great for plants that like dry soils. The clay wicks moisture out of the potting soil and keeps it on the dry side. However, if the pot has been painted, it won't wick water away from the soil. And, if it is a decorative pot rather than a planting pot, it won't have adequate drainage holes. There's really no efficient way to drill holes in caly pots - they are too fragile. The holes are made as the pots are cast, not drilled in after the fact. Petunias tend to wilt in hot and humid weather. Sometimes you can pinch the plants back to remove the wilted stems and to encourage healthy new growth, but as long as the weather is hot and humid (or rainy) the resulting growth will suffer just as the present growth is doing. You might try replanting the petunias into pots that drain quickly, or you might try just pinching them back to remove the sad looking growth. Either way, the plants won't really look better until the weather is more to their liking. Wish I had better news to share.

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