Pots of colour­ful petu­nias in­ject colour

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - BY HENRI HAM

Oc­to­ber marks the mid­dle of spring — the most pop­u­lar plant­ing sea­son of the year. Many of you will have your sum­mer vege crops of let­tuce, peas, cour­gettes and toma­toes top of mind right now. And rightly so!

But have you thought about which flow­ers you’d like to pot up in your gar­den this sum­mer?

For a colour­ful in­jec­tion of beauty into your pot plants and gar­den you can’t over­look petu­nias. Petu­nias have a cheer­ful flower that can bloom non­stop from sum­mer through to late au­tumn.

They are also in­cred­i­bly di­verse. Petu­nias come in an amaz­ing range of colours, shapes and sizes. They can have a sin­gle or dou­ble layer of petals, be­ing ruf­fled or smooth. Many have a gramo­phone shaped flower. Petu­nias are ideal for bed­ding, bor­ders, pot plants and hang­ing bas­kets.

Larger petu­nias (re­ferred to as gran­di­flora) can grow up to 80cm across (if you re­ally let them go) and have huge flow­ers span­ning 15cm. Their im­pres­sive size make a real state­ment but with this comes more re­spon­si­bil­ity. The large flower means if it is planted in an ex­posed place, it will get ham­mered from wind and rain. And you need to dead­head them to en­cour­age more flow­er­ing.

The medium-sized va­ri­eties will grow be­tween 25 and 50 cm high, with flow­ers that span 5cm. Flow­ers on the small­est petu­nia plants only span 2cm. They are great for path bor­ders and cut­ting gar­dens too.

I rec­om­mend mix­ing a few of the smaller va­ri­eties and com­bin­ing them in pots to­gether. Petu­nia mini pi­co­bella and duo red and white are early bloomers suited to pots. And they don’t need much dead­head­ing.

At time of writ­ing this there are 24 va­ri­eties of petu­nias on of­fer on our Awa­puni Nurs­eries on­line shop. And this year we also have two new va­ri­eties avail­able — duo bur­gundy and dou­ble mix. Ex­cit­ingly they are both brand new va­ri­eties to all of New Zealand (as far as we know). So get in now to plant some­thing truly unique in your gar­dens this sum­mer.

You can grab your Awa­puni Nurs­eries petu­nia seedlings from our on­line store have them de­liv­ered di­rect to your door. We guar­an­tee you’ll be happy with the qual­ity of your plants and if you’re not we will re­place them.

Plant­ing-wise petu­nias are pretty easy. They like a sunny well-drained, fer­tile spot. Plant seedlings be­tween 15-40cm apart de­pend­ing on their size. In­di­vid­ual guides come on their la­bels and you’ll also find this in­for­ma­tion on the Awa­puni web­site. If your plant­ing plot is par­tially shaded, plant them slightly closer to­gether.

Watch out for snails and aphids. If they stop flow­er­ing sooner than you ex­pected aphids could well be the cause. Petu­nias can also catch dis­eases. Avoid over­head wa­ter­ing.

But if you re­ally want to give your petu­nias a fight­ing chance — buy Awa­puni Nurs­eries petu­nia seedlings. We grow our seedlings with high qual­ity seeds that have in­creased disease re­sis­tance. This means Awa­puni petu­nias are more likely to de­liver months of beau­ti­ful blooms.

In about six to eight weeks your pots should start to look perky with petu­nia colour.

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