Stringy Petunias - Knowledgebase Question

Proctor, MN
Question by TVANNESTE
April 20, 2002
LAST SUMMER I HAD TWO HANGING POTS OF PETUNIAS ON A DOUBLE SHEPARDS HOOK MOUNTED ON MY SOUTH FACING RAISED DECK. BY AUGUST THE LOOKED TERRIBLE. THIS SPOT GETS A LOT OF SUN AND WIND. WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD FLOWERING ANNUAL TO HANG IN THIS LOCATION?


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Answer from NGA
April 20, 2002

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Petunias and other typical sun loving annuals should do fine in a hot sunny location, however wind is a difficult problem in that it will dry out the plant very fast and stress them. Unless you can devise some sort of windbreak, you might do best with something like a portulaca or perhaps a succulent with attractive foliage such as a low growing sedum in that location, but this would not provide the same kind of floral effect as petunias.

If you can't reduce the wind but still want to try petunias, make sure the container is generously large, use a top quality soilless potting mix, and water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist but not sopping wet. By mid summer, you may even need to water twice a day -- or you could experiment with one of the self watering pots.

You would also want to fertilize the plants regularly with a water soluble fertilizer for blooming annuals, read and follow the label instructions (too much is not better than not enough).

Finally, many commonly popular varieties of petunia need to be trimmed back by about half in mid summer when they get leggy. This will force a flush of new vigorous growth and lots more blooms into the fall. Also, on most petunias you will want to regularly remove the faded flowers to prevent the plant from using any energy on producing seeds. This also keeps the plant looking better.

To avoid these extra chores, you might try one of the newer varieties that are developed to be self cleaning and naturally very large and full.

Good luck with your hanging baskets!

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